Will mobile devices replace passwords?

Mobile devices could provide a more secure, user-friendly mode of account authentication, according to an IDG and MobileIron report.

Will mobile devices replace passwords?

Nearly half of enterprise help desk tickets are password reset requests resulting from users getting locked out of their accounts via the multifactor authentication process, according to an IDG report released on Thursday. The report outlined the major frustrations IT professions have with passwords, as well as better solutions that could potentially replace them altogether.

This IDG report, sponsored by MobileIron, surveyed 200 IT security leaders in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand who worked at companies with at least 500 employees. Almost half of enterprise users recycle passwords, the report found, and 90% of respondents said they have seen security incidents result from stolen credentials.

SEE: How to reduce user account lockouts and password resets (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Passwords have long been an issue, with users failing to change passwords often, using easy-to-guess passwords, and using the same passwords for all accounts. These issues lead to massive password security issues, leading IT pros to consider other ways of account authentication—rendering passwords obsolete

The rise in mobile business devices and apps may present a viable solution for authentication, the report found. The majority of respondents (85%) reported seeing an increase in the number of users needing access to business apps from mobile devices over the past year. 

"In the enterprise, more and more users are not getting on the enterprise network to go to their applications and get to their data," Brian Foster, senior vice president of product management at MobileIron, said in the report. "Instead, they're accessing apps and company data via their own mobile devices."

Passwords just aren't cutting it anymore, with 86% of security leaders saying they would ditch the password authentication method if they could. Nearly half of those surveyed said eliminating passwords would cut almost 50% of all security breach attempts, the report found.

More than 75% of respondents cited biometric authentication through mobile devices as the best option for password replacement. Because humans are so attached to their phones, 88% of security leaders said they believe that mobile devices  in the near future will serve as a digital ID for users accessing business data and apps. 

For more, check out Windows 10 passwords won't expire: Why Microsoft says this will make your account safer, on TechRepublic.

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Image: iStockphoto/anyaberkut