What is Token Authentication and the Benefits of Using It?


Passwordless

Cybersecurity has become an important topic because of large electronic data being generated today.  Digital attacks on networked systems and applications have become rampant.  Cybercriminals are interested in internet users’ personally identifiable information (PII), credit card information, national identification numbers, name, address and much more.

On the other hand, servers have to create security tokens for hardware or software devices to help you access any network system, applications, websites, and services securely.  The electronic key provides an extra level of security to enable users to access a network or data, authenticate and prove their identity even as it stores some of their personal information.

The article reviews the benefits of using a trusted device to access electronically restricted resources.

What is an authentication token and its different types?

Internet users can access applications, websites or services without inserting their login credentials because of authentication token verifies their identity.  That means you only log in once, and the server generates and shares a unique token linked to the website or application which verifies your identity.  Once this process is complete the token automatically becomes a trusted device.

Authentication Token

In other words, the token for authentication or security token is like a digital version of that stamped ticket you receive when you attend an event.  The server creates data on all trusted devices and the token generates a one-time password (OTP) that the server validates.  The OTP expires quickly and can’t be reused.  The security token gives you access to an application or website until you log out.  Indeed this offers an additional security level when you’re accessing a network or data through multifactor authentication (MFA).

Hardware tokens and software tokens are two types of authentication tokens in the market.  The hardware token is physically tangible including USB and smart card tokens and the user must have a USB port or smart card reader respectively.  On the other hand, the software tokens is a virtual and installed in an electronic device such as a smartphone, computer, tablet, etc.

Potential benefits of software tokens compared to hardware tokens

Cost-effective

A software token is a virtual piece of software you install on your computer or smartphone.  There are no logistics costs for deploying it on a large scale.  The chances of losing or forgetting a software token is lower compared to a hardware token.

Superior user experience

In today’s digital era, more and more users are becoming mobile and getting connected to the cloud.  The advantage of using a software token over a physical token is that it’s able to strike a balance between security and user experience.  Indeed some providers can give you a passwordless login experience through the multifactor authentication (MFA) process.  One of them is inWebo’s MFA solution which is unique because it enables you to offer a passwordless and deviceless user experience from enrolment to login.

Real-time updates

Virtual tokens are updated remotely and thus always up to date, unlike physical tokens.

Summary

Whether you opt for the hardware (physical) or software (virtual) tokens, token authentication aims to secure your access to data and applications.  The trusted device has data that the server creates to identify particular internet users.  The server validate the one time password that token generates.  After that, the user doesn’t need to enter the login credential every time they visit the website or application.


Kokou Adzo

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