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Can I Go Passwordless with Windows Hello For Business?

Can I Go Passwordless with Windows Hello for Business? or do I need FIDO2 and Entra CBA
11 Mar 2024

Can I Go Passwordless with Windows Hello for Business?

As a former Microsoft employee deeply entrenched in the realm of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and passwordless authentication technologies, I’ve had a front-row seat to the evolution of digital security measures aimed at making our online interactions both safer and more convenient. The quest to eliminate the age-old reliance on passwords, notorious for their vulnerabilities and the inconvenience they pose to users, has led to several groundbreaking innovations. Among these, Windows Hello for Business stands out as a real sign of progress, offering a glimpse into a future where passwords are no longer the linchpin of digital security as we know it. However, through my experience, I’ve also come to recognize the limitations inherent in these systems. TL;DR - Yes, you can go passwordless with Windows Hello for Business, but there’s a catch: it’s only viable on a single device. Keep reading to explore more about WHFB and how it fits into the current state of passwordless authentication.

What is Windows Hello for Business?

Launched as part of Microsoft’s commitment to enhancing user security without compromising convenience, Windows Hello for Business is at the forefront of the passwordless revolution. By utilizing advanced biometric technologies such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, along with secure PINs, it offers a robust two-factor authentication system built directly into Windows 10 and later versions. The secret sauce to its security framework is the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) a specialized microcontroller that safeguards cryptographic keys and ensures that the authentication process is both secure and user-friendly.

The adoption of Windows Hello for Business has been met with enthusiasm, as it significantly reduces the risk of common password-related security breaches, all while streamlining the login process. This move towards biometric and PIN-based authentication represents a significant leap forward in our collective effort to secure digital identities in an increasingly interconnected world.

Windows Hello For Business is Device-Specific

Despite its advantages, the primary limitation of Windows Hello for Business lies in its reliance on TPM, which inherently ties the authentication process to a single device (think on how could you authenticate to a new laptop if you only have Hello for Business). This approach contrasts sharply with the needs of today’s mobile and flexible workforce, which often requires access to multiple devices in various locations to perform their job functions effectively. The device-specific nature of Windows Hello for Business means that while it offers a robust passwordless experience on your primary Windows device, this convenience and security do not extend to other devices you may use throughout your workday.

What are Alternatives to Windows Hello for Business?

In the context of a modern, hybrid work environment, the ability to go passwordless across multiple platforms and devices is not just a convenience; it’s a necessity. This is where alternative passwordless technologies like phone authentication, smartcards, and FIDO2 hardware security keys, such as YubiKeys, come into play. These methods offer a more flexible and universal approach to passwordless authentication, enabling users to securely access a wide range of services and devices without being tied to a single piece of hardware.

Phone Authentication

Phone authentication methods like authentication apps, provide a way to use a device most people carry at all times — their smartphone — as a means of verifying their identity. While more convenient than passwords, this method’s security depends on the phone’s security and the potential for interception or SIM swapping attacks.


Smartcards have been a staple in the realm of secure authentication for years, offering a portable means of carrying digital identity that can be used across different devices. They require a card reader, which can be a limitation in environments where such hardware is not readily available or for users on the go.

FIDO2 Hardware Security Keys

FIDO2 hardware security keys represent the cutting edge in passwordless authentication technology. Designed to work across numerous platforms and devices, these keys support a secure and user-friendly method of authentication that can significantly reduce the risk of phishing and other forms of attack. Unlike TPM-based solutions, FIDO2 keys are not tied to a single device, making them ideal for a workforce that operates in a hybrid environment and needs seamless access across multiple machines.

Getting Started with Passwordless Authentication

For organizations looking to embark on the journey towards zero trust, the Keytos security team stands ready to guide you through every step of the process. Whether you prefer a direct conversation to tailor a passwordless strategy that best fits your needs or choose to explore at your own pace through our extensive passwordless documentation we are here to support you. Our YouTube channel is rich with tutorials and step-by-step guides, meticulously designed to provide you with the knowledge and tools necessary for a seamless transition. We invite you to reach out at your convenience to discuss how we can help secure your operations against the cyber threats of tomorrow.

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