Cisco Study: Hybrid Work Drives Biometric Authentication

Cisco Studie: Hybrid Work treibt die biometrische Authentifizierung an


Biometric authentication increases by 48 percent worldwide compared to the previous year

More and more companies are replacing passwords with modern authentication methods. This is according to a new global study by Cisco Duo Security. The total number of multi-factor authentications using the Cisco Duo security solution increased by 39 percent last year. The number of biometric authentications grew even faster at 48 percent. A key driver for this development is the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting increase in hybrid work.

  • More than one in three IT decision-makers in Germany aims for password-free security strategy
  • More and more multifactor authentication in the course of hybrid Work
  • Cisco Duo Web Authentication has increased fivefold since April 2019

The Cisco Duo Trusted Access Report 2021 analyzes data from more than 36 million devices worldwide, over 400,000 different applications, and approximately 800 million monthly authentications through Cisco Duo. The results show that biometric authentication was activated on more than 71 percent of Duo customers’ mobile phones. The use of the open standard Web Authentication (WebAuthn) has increased fivefold since April 2019. WebAuthn enables secure storage and validation of biometric data locally on the device.

Cisco Duo supports passwordless technology and, as a member of the W3C working group, has driven the ratification of WebAuthn. In addition, Cisco Duo launched an infrastructure-independent passwordless authentication product in March 2021. The replacement of passwords will significantly improve the login process for the vast majority of users – and increase security. This is especially important for Hybrid Work to ensure protected access to applications from anywhere.

Results for Germany

As part of the study, almost 400 IT decision-makers in Germany were asked about their plans for passwordless authentication solutions. Accordingly, more than a third (36%) are currently considering their introduction. Germany is significantly behind in international comparison – because more than half of the world is planning with the password-free alternative. However, the desire for a passwordless strategy in Germany is significantly higher among decision-makers who mainly deal with the processing of helpdesk tickets (53%) and the selection of security software (44%).

Only nine percent of respondents in Germany have already implemented password-free access. The main reasons for introducing such solutions, with 38 percent of mentions each, are: improving the overall security of the company and the need to keep up with the latest technology. Almost a third (32%) of the participants want to improve the experience of the end users.

The view of German users

But how do users see passwordless access? More than 500 users in Germany were surveyed. More than half (55%) feel comfortable using the fingerprint to access an online account. 40 Percent have nothing against facial recognition. In contrast, 22 percent reject the fingerprint and 32 percent reject facial recognition. Accordingly, 32 percent have not activated biometrics on any device. On one device they use 25 percent, on three devices 10 percent.

The reservations for passwordless access are quite large in Germany. Only a little over a fifth (21%) definitely prefers a passwordless solution over entering multiple passwords, 41 percent possibly. The main reason for the reluctance: 68 percent worry about privacy. As a result, they continue to use passwords, even though more than half (55%) find the current processes frustrating, mainly because new passwords have to be invented all the time (47%). 42 percent of consumers in Germany use the same password for multiple online accounts.

“Usernames and passwords have never been a particularly secure mechanism for verifying identity,” says Dr. Michael von der Horst, Managing Director Cyber Security at Cisco. “The use of biometrics and multi-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security. With Cisco Duo, users must authenticate themselves with an additional method, such as confirming a message on their mobile device. However, biometric recognition requires end–to-end security – from the input device to the software and data transfer to the authentication system. Cisco and its certified partners in particular can ensure a high level of trust here.“

Data protection increasingly important

Consistent data protection is also necessary for this trust. According to the Cisco 2021 Consumer Privacy Survey, which surveyed 2,600 people in 12 countries, consumers want transparency and control over a company’s data-related processes. Nearly a third (32%) actively protect their privacy and may turn away from companies because of their data practices or policies. Laws for more data protection are seen very positively worldwide (60%). However, Germany is at the bottom here, as only 40 percent support the laws and 10 percent even rate them negatively.

Even during the pandemic, most people worldwide only want a small (20%) or no (42%) restriction on data protection. At the same time, they support comprehensive measures in the field of public health, such as the disclosure of one’s own vaccination status at events (62%) or at the workplace (60%). Here, too, Germany is far behind in international comparison, with only 48 percent in favor of querying the vaccination status at the workplace.

Germans are also particularly critical of the use of their personal data in decision-making by artificial intelligence. 62% have no confidence. Second is France with 55 percent, third Spain with 54 percent. Companies must take these concerns very seriously and address them with the help of proven, secure and comprehensible solutions.

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