One of the things I strongly dislike in this world, is… passwords! Spending hours trying to remember the range of passwords I use for my different subscriptions, trying multiple different combinations of characters and letters, wondering how many special characters I used this time. Obviously, the problem is not insurmountable, but it is just frustrating, especially when you try too many times and get locked out of your account or you ask to re-set your password but the permission for the re-set has to come from a distant administrator who invariably, isn’t in the office on that day.
The password problem is only going to get worse, as more and more solutions move online, we end up with more online accounts, each with their own passwords. As we put more data online we become more vulnerable and as hackers get cleverer we need more elaborate passwords, with more varied combinations of numbers and letters. There are sites that manage passwords, but they themselves still rely on a password and therefore the password re-set function.
The current situation
People write password on post-it-notes, in their diaries, in their phone or on a file in their computer and/or, they use the same passwords for multiple applications. Current research shows that 74% of people in the US and UK log into 6 different website applications each day, but only 41% use six unique passwords. The reality is that passwords have reached the limit of human capabilities to remember and lock-outs resulting from forgotten passwords are seriously hampering productivity.
Technology itself, using developments such as biometrics and wearables to deliver simpler and more secure account access solutions, without having to develop ever longer, multi character and digit pass codes. Accounts could be accessed via unique, physical identifiers, such as the sound of your heartbeat, measured via the watch you are wearing, by finger print scanning and matching or facial capture and comparison.
Whilst all these solutions may sound futuristic, in reality the technology is already in use and it will not be long before it is applied to secure account access. To me, it makes sense that unique, physical characteristics should be used to provide secure access to accounts. Not only that, but it saves me having to remember multiple, long usernames and passwords, and that has to be a good thing.
A world beyond passwords: Improving security, efficiency, and user experience in digital transformation - Deloitte Review issue 19