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A Guide to Choosing the Right FIDO® Security Key for Your Business

Hand manipulating security icons with technological design.

In today's ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, businesses must prioritize robust authentication methods to safeguard sensitive data and protect against unauthorized access. FIDO (Fast Identity Online) security keys offer a promising solution, elevating security measures to new heights. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to help businesses choose the right FIDO security key, considering their unique needs and requirements.

Understanding FIDO Security Keys

To effectively choose the right FIDO security key for your business, it is essential to understand the definition, purpose, authentication standards, and advantages of these physical devices.

Definition and Purpose

FIDO security keys are physical devices that provide secure and convenient authentication for users. They leverage public-key cryptography to verify user identities and offer an additional layer of protection against phishing attacks and password-related vulnerabilities.

FIDO Alliance and Authentication Standards

The FIDO Alliance, a consortium of industry leaders, developed open authentication standards for strong, passwordless authentication. FIDO2 and WebAuthn are examples of these standards, enabling interoperability across devices and platforms.

Advantages Over Traditional Authentication Methods

FIDO security keys eliminate the reliance on passwords and offer superior security by utilizing public-key cryptography. They provide protection against credential theft, replay attacks, and other common vulnerabilities associated with passwords.

Man typing on his laptop using a kensigton fingerprint lock and lock icons floating around.

Assessing Business Needs and Requirements

To make an informed decision when choosing a FIDO security key, businesses must carefully assess their security goals, identify concerns such as data breaches or compliance requirements, evaluate compatibility with existing systems and infrastructure, and determine the scale and deployment requirements for seamless integration and optimal efficiency.

Identifying Security Goals and Concerns

Businesses should evaluate their security goals and identify specific concerns such as data breaches, compliance requirements, or insider threats. This assessment will help determine the level of security required from a FIDO security key.

Evaluating Compatibility with Existing Systems and Infrastructure

Compatibility with existing systems, applications, and infrastructure is crucial. Businesses should ensure that their chosen FIDO security key solution integrates seamlessly with their technology stack, minimizing disruption and maximizing efficiency.

Determining Scale and Deployment Requirements

Considerations should be given to the scale of deployment, the number of users, and the deployment model (centralized or distributed). This assessment will assist in selecting the appropriate FIDO security key solution that aligns with business needs.

Types of FIDO Security Keys

FIDO security keys come in various types, including USB-based, NFC-enabled, and Bluetooth® security keys. USB-based keys offer versatility, while NFC-enabled keys provide contactless authentication. Bluetooth keys enable wireless authentication. When selecting a FIDO security key, businesses should consider hardware-based security features, user experience, and certification and compliance requirements.

USB-Based Security Keys

USB-based security keys offer versatility and compatibility with various devices. Different USB interfaces, such as USB-A and USB-C®, should be considered based on the devices employees use and the organization's infrastructure.

NFC-Enabled Security Keys

NFC-enabled security keys provide a contactless authentication method, particularly suitable for mobile devices. They offer convenience and compatibility with NFC-enabled smartphones and contactless readers.

Bluetooth Security Keys

Bluetooth security keys enable wireless authentication, allowing users to authenticate across multiple devices seamlessly. They offer flexibility and compatibility with various devices and platforms.

Security Key Features and Considerations

When selecting a FIDO security key, businesses should consider the following features:

  • Hardware-based security features, including strong cryptographic capabilities and resistance to physical tampering.
  • User experience and convenience, such as ergonomics, durability, and compatibility with different operating systems and browsers.
  • Certification and compliance, ensuring FIDO certification and adherence to industry standards and regulations, such as FIPS and Common Criteria.

Woman shaking hands with a man with padlock icons around it.

Evaluating Vendor Options

When choosing a FIDO security key, it is important to thoroughly research and evaluate reputable vendors. Consider their track record, experience, and commitment to security excellence. Additionally, compare product offerings, features, and pricing to assess how well they align with your business requirements. Lastly, consider the vendor's reputation, customer reviews, and the quality of their support services, as these factors are crucial in ensuring timely assistance and ongoing support.

Researching Reputable FIDO Security Key Vendors

Thoroughly research and evaluate reputable vendors who offer FIDO security keys. Consider their track record, experience, and commitment to security excellence.

Comparing Product Offerings, Features, and Pricing

Compare the offerings, features, and pricing of different FIDO security key vendors. Assess how well their products align with your business requirements and consider the overall value they provide.

Assessing Vendor Reputation, Customer Reviews, and Support Services

Consider vendor reputation, customer reviews, and the quality of their support services. A reliable vendor should offer timely assistance, firmware updates, and ongoing support for their security key products.

Testing and Piloting Security Keys

To ensure the suitability of a FIDO security key solution, businesses should request sample devices from vendors for testing and evaluation. Conducting pilot programs with a subset of users or departments enables gathering feedback and evaluating effectiveness in a real-world setting. During this phase, it is important to gather feedback and performance data to assess user experience, performance, and identify any potential issues, which will inform the final decision-making process.

Requesting Sample Devices for Testing and Evaluation

Before committing to a specific FIDO security key, request sample devices from vendors for testing and evaluation. This allows businesses to assess usability, compatibility, and overall performance.

Conducting Pilot Programs

Conduct pilot programs with a subset of users or departments to gather feedback and evaluate the effectiveness of the chosen FIDO security key solution in a real-world setting.

Gathering Feedback and Performance Data

During the testing phase, gather feedback and performance data to assess the user experience, performance, and any potential issues. This data will inform the final decision-making process.

Security Keys Implementation and Deployment

To successfully implement FIDO security keys, it is crucial to create an implementation plan and timeline that outlines necessary steps, including employee training, device provisioning, and system integration. Close coordination with IT teams will ensure smooth integration and proper configuration. Additionally, effective communication and training programs should be established to familiarize employees with the benefits and usage guidelines of FIDO security keys, as well as any changes to existing authentication processes.

Creating an Implementation Plan and Timeline

Develop a comprehensive implementation plan and timeline that outlines the steps required to deploy FIDO security keys across the organization. Consider factors such as employee training, device provisioning, and integration with existing systems.

Coordinating with IT Teams for Integration and Configuration

Collaborate closely with IT teams to ensure smooth integration and proper configuration of FIDO security keys within the existing technology infrastructure. This cooperation will minimize disruptions and maximize efficiency.

Communicating and Training Employees

Effective communication and training programs are essential to ensure employees understand how to use FIDO security keys properly. These programs should cover the benefits, usage guidelines, and any changes to existing authentication processes.

Woman accessing her files through a biometric key.

Conclusion

Choosing the right FIDO security key for your business requires a thoughtful evaluation of your security goals, compatible with existing systems, and the specific needs of your workforce. USB-based, NFC-enabled, and Bluetooth security keys offer different advantages and use cases. Considering security features, user experience, certifications, and vendor reputation is crucial.

By following the outlined steps of assessing needs, evaluating options, testing, and implementing, businesses can enhance their security posture and protect sensitive data effectively. With the right FIDO security key solution in place, organizations can mitigate risks, streamline authentication processes, and empower their workforce with a strong and convenient authentication method.

Kensington offers a line of world-class biometric security products that provide substantially higher assurance for security-conscience consumers and enterprise customers. The Kensington VeriMark™ products are highly effective USB-based biometric security keys that offer users a range of features and options for enhancing their online security. They are compatible with multiple biometric authentication methods and industry standards. They leverage advanced hardware-based security features, including robust cryptographic capabilities and resistance to physical tampering, ensuring the highest level of protection for user authentication. In addition, the ergonomic design and durability of the VeriMark™ products prioritize user experience and longevity, making them ideal for long-term use in diverse operating systems and browsers. If you are ready to secure your enterprise IT infrastructure but are unsure of the best way to protect your users, the Kensington team is available to help.

Learn more about Kensington’s Biometric Security Solutions