Struggling to remember the password for an email address or the answer to that odd security question to sign into a bank account online can often make us feel nostalgic for the days before our lives were filled with PC passwords and unique swipe patterns on smartphones.

The password-free world is a nice fantasy, but we have to break it to you, our world has had passwords for centuries, if not longer. Wearing the right colors identified your tribe, signet rings identified that you were part of a specific state or region, and many religions have had their own shibboleths to identify believers. All of these efforts were designed to let the right people in and keep others out.

However, it might be a reality of tomorrow thanks to things like private cloud federation solutions and federated single sign-on (SSO) tools.

Enterprises Want to Leave Passwords Behind

The goal is to remove unsecure passwords, because data breaches cost U.S. companies trillions of dollars each year – look around, someone on your team has likely chosen “password” as their password.

Right now, we’re still living in an authentication world that layers factors on top of a static password. But Identity and Access Management (IAM) platforms that provide access to tools including cloud SSO are the newest hope for enterprises large and small. By looking at the identification of the person on the other end of a device, and not their knowledge of the correct string of characters, IAM provides people with the right access to the right applications.

Cloud SSO options include text messages, app push notification, biometrics and more. They’re designed to reduce friction and give you a better experience when accessing myriad tools. Moving to private cloud federation solutions and single sign-on methods allow these IAM efforts to work across a broad spectrum of deployments, all much safer than the standard username and password.

So, Are We Password Free?

There’s good news and bad news. Cloud SSO managed by enterprises and vendors is helping companies and services all over the world ditch the username and password combination after you first sign up for an account. Using multifactor authentication tools, there’s less of a need to memorize more strings of random characters that must include a capital letter, number and special character.

The bad news is that you’ll never truly be password free. However, there’s good news in that too. Someday soon, your access will be protected by things that truly make you who you are, from iris scans and fingerprints to the sound of your voice, the way you think and the devices you love.