How to Go Passwordless with YubiKeys A Guide for SMBs and Micro-SMBs


Joseph Morgan


31 August, 2023



Welcome to the future of cybersecurity for your business. If you’re still relying on traditional passwords, you’re essentially using a wooden door to protect a treasure trove. YubiKeys offer a paradigm shift, transforming your cybersecurity from a vulnerability into a fortress. This guide will walk you through the what, why, and how of going passwordless with YubiKeys.

YubiKey plugged into laptop

What is a YubiKey?

A YubiKey is not just another piece of hardware; it’s a revolutionary device that serves as your digital identity. Think of it as a skeleton key, but for the digital world. It’s a USB device that you can plug into your computer or connect to your phone to authenticate your identity, eliminating the need for passwords altogether.

Why Go Passwordless?

The question isn’t why but rather, why not? Passwords are the weakest link in cybersecurity. They can be forgotten, stolen, or even guessed. Going passwordless offers you three key advantages: enhanced security through multi-factor authentication, unparalleled ease of use, and significant time savings. It’s like replacing a padlock with a biometric security system; the upgrade is not just incremental—it’s transformative.

How YubiKeys Work

YubiKeys employ a multi-layered approach to security, combining hardware-based authentication with public key cryptography. When you plug in your YubiKey, it proves to the service you’re trying to access that you are indeed who you claim to be. It’s akin to a two-step verification process, but without the hassle of receiving and entering codes. It’s your personal cybersecurity guardian, always ready to protect your digital realm.

Setting Up Your YubiKey

Setting up a YubiKey is straightforward and intuitive. First, purchase a YubiKey model that aligns with your needs. Next, download the Yubico software and follow the setup wizard to register your device. The entire process is streamlined to ensure that even those with minimal technical expertise can secure their digital assets effortlessly.

Using YubiKey with Popular Services

YubiKeys are versatile and compatible with a multitude of services, including Google, Microsoft, and Apple. The setup process is usually as simple as going to the security settings of the service and choosing to add a new hardware device for authentication. Once set up, accessing your accounts becomes as easy as plugging in your YubiKey and tapping it to confirm your identity.

YubiKey for Teams

For SMBs and Micro-SMBs, YubiKeys offer an efficient way to secure multiple accounts across a team. The devices can be centrally managed, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive information. It’s like having a digital bouncer at the door of your virtual office, allowing entry only to those with the right credentials.

Backup Plans

Losing a YubiKey doesn’t mean you’re locked out forever. You can set up backup authentication methods such as backup codes or even a secondary YubiKey. Think of it as having a spare tire for your car; it’s not something you want to use, but it’s invaluable when needed.

Cost Analysis

While YubiKeys come with a price tag, the cost should be viewed as an investment in your cybersecurity infrastructure. The ROI is not just in the form of thwarted cyberattacks but also in the time saved by your team not having to manage multiple complex passwords. It’s a one-time investment for long-term security and peace of mind.

Security Concerns

Though YubiKeys offer robust security, no system is entirely infallible. However, the risks associated with YubiKey are minimal and are vastly outweighed by the heightened level of security they provide. It’s like choosing to live in a gated community; while it’s not entirely without risk, the security measures significantly reduce potential threats.

“Switching to YubiKeys was a game-changer for my little shop! No more pulling my hair out over forgotten passwords or worrying about getting hacked. It’s like a weight’s been lifted!”

– Joe Harris, East Auckland Small Business Owner

YubiKey vs. Traditional Methods

Comparing YubiKeys to traditional passwords is like comparing a modern electric car to a horse-drawn carriage. Both can get you from point A to point B, but one does it faster, more efficiently, and with a significantly lower risk. YubiKeys offer multi-factor authentication, public key cryptography, and hardware-based security, making them a far superior choice for anyone serious about cybersecurity.

Real-world Applications

YubiKeys are not just for tech companies or large enterprises. They are increasingly being adopted in various sectors like healthcare, e-commerce, and even local small businesses. The device’s versatility and ease of use make it suitable for any organisation that values its digital security.


In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, staying a step ahead is not just an advantage; it’s a necessity. YubiKeys offer that edge by replacing outdated password-based security with robust, hardware-based authentication. For SMBs and Micro-SMBs, this is not just an upgrade; it’s a game-changer. Make the switch to YubiKeys today and fortify your digital kingdom like never before.