The Pandemic Shows More Than Ever That Consumers and Our Workforce Need Advanced Authentication

The move to a more virtual life was abrupt. Among employed adults in the US who can do their jobs from home, only 20 percent worked from home before COVID-19. Now 71 percent are working from home (Pew Research Center). This move to a virtualized workplace has been mostly successful, and most of these workers would prefer to stay home.

For many businesses, this was and remains an existential business continuity issue. Continuity had to be the priority. But now that we are past the initial waves of the virus, we need to transition from reactive to proactive. We need to understand where the threat surface may have increased, and how adversaries may have found new openings.

Using the same technology stack that ZenKey has developed for the consumer, we are working with businesses to rise to these new challenges.  Effortless multifactor authentication and differentiated risk signals are key ingredients. While password-less authentication is the 2021 version of “the password is dead” that we have been hearing for the last decade, ZenKey and a few others are actually starting to provide a viable path forward to get there.

This shift is not about wild proclamations, but more about a secure transition from the status quo to a more capable multifactor solution. And of course considering how the credential is issued and maintained, along with the strength of the authenticator. In other words, if an attacker can simply acquire a new credential on behalf of the victim, then the strength of the credential is irrelevant.

Beyond a virtualized workforce, other real problems require real solutions. As if COVID itself was not enough, fraudsters are continuously looking for COVID-related opportunities to exploit hard-working folks all around the world and enrich themselves.

This will not do.

As identity and cybersecurity companies, we must do all our part. We will need to collaborate more. We will need to innovate more. We will need to work harder and smarter than ever to have meaningful impact and secure our workforces and consumers. The time is now.

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