© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People pass by the logo of Standard Chartered plc at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto

By Anna Irrera

LONDON (Reuters) – Standard Chartered Plc’s (L:) venture capital arm SC Ventures has made a strategic investment in Secret Double Octopus, a Tel Aviv-based startup providing authentication technology that removes the need for passwords, the companies said on Thursday.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Secret Double Octopus, which already counts Sony Financial Ventures and Japanese telecoms provider KDDI (T:) as investors, said it will use the funding to grow the business.

The startup helps large enterprises replace passwords used by employees to log into company systems with passwordless multi-factor authentication. It says its technology can help make systems more secure, while cutting down on the large costs associated with managing passwords.

“On average an enterprise user forgets his password three times a year,” said Raz Rafaeli, co-founder and chief executive of Secret Double Octopus. “The cost of password reset is $25 dollars at a minimum.”

That could amount to millions of dollars annually for companies with thousands of employees, he added.

The technology could also be deployed to remove passwords in customer facing systems, Rafaeli said.

Standard Chartered’s involvement comes as banks and other financial institutions continue to ramp up their investments in cyber security, as they seek to protect their organisations and customers from a multitude of online threats.

Financial institutions spent about $2,700 (2,074 pounds) on average per full-time employee on cybersecurity in 2020, up from about $2,300 last year, according to a recent study by Deloitte. That represented 10.9% of their overall IT budget, up from 10.1% in 2019.

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