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Cisco Secure Adds Duo Passwordless Authentication to Zero Trust Platform


Cisco Secure, the network security division of Cisco Systems, has announced Duo passwordless authentication capabilities for its Zero Trust platform. Duo passwordless authentication is expected to be available for public preview beginning in summer 2021.

Passwordless authentication lets Cisco Zero Trust platform users log into cloud applications via security keys or platform biometrics, Cisco said. In doing so, it strengths and simplifies user authentication.

How Does Duo Passwordless Authentication for Cisco's Zero Trust Platform Work?

Duo passwordless authentication uses the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) standard based in asymmetric cryptography, Cisco noted. It enables biometrics to be securely stored on and validated by a local device in lieu of a centralized database.

With passwordless authentication, Cisco Zero Trust platform users can leverage security keys and Apple FaceID and TouchID, Windows Hello and other platform biometrics to access cloud applications, according to Cisco. That way, passwordless authentication enables organizations to use Cisco's Zero Trust platform to secure access for any user, from any device, to any IT application or environment.

Furthermore, passwordless authentication limits the risk of phishing, stolen or weak passwords and other password-related threats and vulnerabilities, Cisco stated. It also reduces the administrative burden of password-related help desk tickets and password resets.

Cisco Adds Zero Trust Capabilities to SecureX

The Duo passwordless authentication for Cisco's Zero Trust platform announcement comes after the company in October 2020 integrated Duo capabilities into its SecureX integrated security platform. SecureX users can leverage these capabilities to automatically detect suspicious logins and alert security operations teams.

Approximately 80 percent of mobile devices used for work have biometrics configured, according to the "2020 Duo Trusted Access Report." Meanwhile, Cisco (which acquired Duo in August 2018 for $2.35 billion) looks poised to capitalize on the rising demand for passwordless authentication going forward.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.