How to Balance Security and Customer Experience?


The customer of today is interacting with brands over multiple channels, via multiple device. This resulted in the fundamental shift over how to accommodate new multichannel behavior of customers. Providing smooth multi-channel experience is no longer an exception but a rule. Connected customer experience is the competitive advantage your brand can have.

But at the same time, Security is becoming vital like never before if you are dealing with the sensitive identity data of your thousands of customers. A single breach takes place and your customer trust and your brand reputation, everything is gone. Doesn't come as a surprise brands are trying every possible way to keep their customers safe but it is not easy. Since every security measurement you take, comes at the expense of customer experience. This brings a big question, How brands can balance customer experience with security?

The latest adoption of identity and access management (IAM) solutions seems to provide the right balance between both. A customer identity management platform basically stores and manages customer identities. Tools like Single Sign-On, Unified customer profiles, Two factor authentication can enhance security thereby building customer loyalty. Let's see how to do it right way:

1. Finding the right cIAM solution:

There are multiple cIAM solutions present out there that come with various security features and capabilities. So if you are planning to buy one for your brand, make sure it comes with your desired security features. Below are some questions that you must ask to the cIAM vendor:

Does the solution performance gets affected on enabling the security features?
Does the solution has API, application and data level security?
Do you have federated SSO and access control feature in your cIAM solution?
Does the solution notify admin of privileged account activity?
Does the solution has ability to personalize multi-factor authentication process?
Is the solution able to securely hash passwords using PBKDF2, Scrypt and Bcrypt?

2. Enabling smooth and secure authentication:

Multi-factor authentication is a great initiative towards security. Multi-factor authentication technology requires user to provide multiple forms of verification to prove his identity. The most common approach towards MFA requires users to go through two levels of authentication. In the first one, the user needs to submit its credentials. Once done, a One time password (OTP) login is sent to the registered mobile number, submitting which on the website will provide users access.

The technology is very efficient in boosting security but not to forget, it hinders customer experience & causes annoyance. Now many of your customers might want extreme tight security at every turn, there might be others as well who would get frustrated if MFA is applied too frequently. This is why, it is important to personalize security to maintain the right balance. That's where comes the need for security and IAM professionals to sit together to define thresholds with specific multi-factor authentication requirements. The MFA approach should be shifted from "Always-on" to "Adaptive" approach. By letting users personalize how and where they want MFA to trigger, you will provide them the level of security they want resulting in enhanced user experience.

3. Securing and centralizing data:

If you want to offer seamless multi-channel experience to your customers, you must centralize data which is dispersed across multiple places. When you go for centralized profiles, you can apply security at various areas like access control, authentication, data layer, etc. Any of the area is missed, either the security gets compromised or the experience is ruined or sometimes both. Many of the security requirements like end to end encryption does not affect customer experience directly. In general, the stronger the encryption, the better it is. But the right balance is must.

4. Enhancing security at data layer:

Now data layer might not be in direct visibility to your customers, but it is as important as others. Your customers expect from you to store their data securely, and if you don't, their trust is gone. Here are some tips to follow:

Make sure to encrypt data at every stage. Any process that relies on customer data, must use robust encryption.
Govern customer data. Not all applications are equal when it comes to security. Brands must keep governing who has access to what so that if any of the unsecured endpoint gets compromised, it will cause minimum loss.
Hash passwords securely. Make sure the passwords are securely hashed with algorithms like PBKDF2, Scrypt, Bcrypt, etc
5. Providing seamless access control:

The customer of today is openly expressing disappointments with the current state of access control procedure. And as the web world is shifting towards multi-channel, brands must provide hassle free login experience by adopting technologies like social login, SSO, etc. But to do that, a modern and scalable identity layer is needed that can give customers access to any channel or device at their own terms., deliver unified customer view and bridge identities from various access points.

Customer experience is the latest competitive battleground. How a brand balances customer experience with security defines its success.

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