Microsoft is again making strides in its efforts to eliminate the need for passwords. The company recently shared about some new security advancements, including the ability to sign into Windows 10 and Azure AD using a FIDO2 security key. Here’s some more information about the project and what it could mean for enterprise users.
FIDO2 security keys
Microsoft has actually been aligned with the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) working group, an alliance that represents 250 organizations from different industries working to create strong credentials to replace the functionality of passwords, since its inception. FIDO2 is the group’s latest set of security keys. And it’s what Microsoft is now working to add to Windows 10, Azure AD, and Windows Hello in an effort to enable secure authentication for all kinds of different scenarios.
FIDO2 compliant security keys are designed to work independently from the form factor. So they hold the user’s credential and then can also be protected with a second factor, including a fingerprint or pin that is entered at sign-in.
Benefits of FIDO2
For Windows 10 users specifically, the new security key support will be available in a limited preview with the next update. For enterprise users, the capability will allow those with Azure AD-joined Windows 10 PCs to sign in without having to enter a username or password. Instead, users can insert a FIDO2 compliant security key into their USB port and click the security tab. This will automatically sign them into the device and give them access to all of the organization’s Azure AD protected cloud resources.
For organizations that have employees work on shared devices, this option can make the process of switching from device to device throughout the course of the day more streamlined while still remaining secure.
Microsoft and its partners have been working on a number of solutions in this area, including USB security keys and NFC enabled smart cards. So even more solutions should be unveiled in the coming months and years.
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