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No more passwords!

Everyone hates passwords!

Actually, that’s not true. Hackers and nasty fraudy people love passwords. It’s passwords, and user’s crappy management of them, that gets them into your computers, bank accounts and other places you don’t want them to be.

The advice for passwords has been constantly changing. Complex passwords, changed every 30 days, don’t change, never write down, keep on a note in your wallet and so on! Bottom line is the whole password concept is flawed.

So…….the objective now is to be able to access what you have the right to access by proving you are you without the use of a password. Putting it that way makes it seem pretty trivial.

Two problems :

  1. How to prove who you are?
  2. How to do this for a whole raft of systems you need to access?

Proving your identity.

The are options for doing this without a password. Finger print readers, security keys but best of all, Windows Hello. Windows Hello is built into windows and with a finger scan, face scan or a simple, unique to the device PIN you are into Windows. Most new laptops have the hardware and it’s simple to setup.

Access lots of systems and sites.

Dealing with credentials and access to a whole variety of sites, systems and devices is a chore. Here’s where SSO comes to the rescue. SSO = Single Sign On and it’s pretty much what it says. Sign on once, access many things.

The concept is simple. One system is nice and secure and easy for you to authenticate with. Other systems check with the one system to see if you are who you say you are and when they get the go ahead, grant you access.

Why am I telling you all this?

Microsoft have just made SSO in Azure (what you authenticate to Office 365 and possibly your PC with) free to all plans. It used to be an add-on that cost but no longer.

What I suggest you do?

  • Any users with modern machines capable of Windows Hello should be using it.
  • If you do need to manage passwords, use a password manager. Preferably one that is simple to use and that you can sign into using SSO and Windows Hello. We can advise on Roboform and 1Password.
  • If you have third party applications that you use, check if they can use SSO and then ask us to help you configure this.

Here’s where we want to be soon. Sit down at your computer, stare at it and it unlocks. Every website or program you need to use doesn’t ask for a login, but checks with your PC and when it knows that you’re sitting staring at the screen lets you in. No passwords, no typing, no forgetting and for us, no more password reset requests……hooray!

Andrew Hussey – frustrated support technician.