Passkeys Vs Passwords & MFA – Weighing the Pros and Cons

Passkeys, passwords, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are commonly used methods for protecting our digital identities.

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Passkey User Guides

In today’s digital age, securing our online accounts and sensitive information is of utmost importance.

Passkeys, passwords, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are commonly used methods for protecting our digital identities.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each approach, helping you make an informed decision about which method is best suited for your needs.

A passkey is a unique identifier used to access a system or an account. It can be a physical object like a key card or a USB device, or it can be a digital file stored on a computer or smartphone. Passkeys offer several advantages:

  • Enhanced security: Passkeys are difficult to replicate or guess, providing an additional layer of security.
  • Convenience: Once set up, passkeys can be used without the need to remember complex passwords.
  • Physical possession: Passkeys often require physical possession, making it harder for unauthorized individuals to gain access.


Passwords are the most common method of authentication. They involve a combination of characters, numbers, and symbols that grant access to an account. Here are some pros and cons of using passwords:

  • Easy implementation: Passwords are simple to set up and use, requiring minimal technical knowledge.
  • Flexibility: Users can create unique passwords for different accounts, increasing security.
  • Memorization: Remembering multiple complex passwords can be challenging and lead to password reuse.
    Security vulnerabilities: Weak passwords or passwords stored insecurely can be easily compromised.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide multiple pieces of evidence to prove their identity. This evidence can be something the user knows (password), something they have (passkey), or something they are (biometric data). Here are the pros and cons of MFA:

  • Enhanced security: MFA significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access, as it combines multiple authentication factors.
  • Flexibility: Users can choose from various authentication methods based on their preferences and the level of security required.
  • Complexity: Implementing and managing MFA can be more complex and time-consuming compared to other methods.
  • User experience: Depending on the implementation, MFA can introduce additional steps and potential usability challenges.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

When deciding between passkeys, passwords, or MFA, it’s essential to consider the specific needs and circumstances. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Level of security required: Evaluate the sensitivity of the information you are protecting and choose the method accordingly.
  • User convenience: Consider the ease of use and user experience associated with each method.
    Implementation complexity: Assess the technical requirements and resources needed to implement and maintain each method.
  • Cost: Evaluate the financial implications of each method, including any hardware or software requirements.

Ultimately, the best approach may involve a combination of passkeys, passwords, and MFA, depending on the specific use case and desired level of security. It’s crucial to stay informed about the latest security practices and regularly update your authentication methods to stay ahead of potential threats.

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