Are Passwords Killing Your Customer Experience? Try Passwordless Authentication

Creating a seamless, secure experience for your legitimate users is a challenge. Most users are good and deserve a frictionless experience, but the less than 0.1 percent of users that are suspected to be rogue actors, according to IBM Trusteer, can spoil the party for everyone. These are the users who commit online fraud, steal data, bypass formal application programming interfaces (APIs) and skew site analytics. The rest of us can thank them for the frustration associated with tedious login rituals.

We’re drowning customers in a sea of passwords and expecting them to stay afloat. Passwords are not only a pain, but also incredibly easy to hack. So how is the industry combating these issues related to passwords and the pains of usability? Shockingly, many organizations still rely only on passwords as a form of authentication. According to a Javelin Strategy & Research survey, sponsored by IBM, 1 in 5 customers fails to authenticate. This could be due to multiple factors, one of which is forgetting their own password.

How Can Companies Go Passwordless?

Let’s take a step back and think about it: As a consumer yourself, how many online accounts do you have, and how many different passwords do you need to create to outsmart fraudsters? All these credentials can be difficult to manage.

If we know a large percentage of our users are legitimate, then let’s deliver the seamless experience they expect to help drive digital business. So what does going passwordless really mean, and how is it possible?

The passwordless experience is based on transparently and accurately identifying unauthorized access to your digital applications. The goal of being “passwordless” is not removing passwords from the overall system, but reducing passwords from the user experience. Organizations can identify these issues by full identity context aware risk assessment to achieve risk-based authentication and continuous digital identity trust validation technologies, which provide services such as behavioral analysis, device identification and authenticity, phone number and email intelligence, identity linkages, and session and network attributes to build this digital identity trust. These forces are what make passwordless authentication possible because they help identify positive users and question the high risk users.

Examples of a Passwordless Customer Experience

How does this work in practice? Below are some examples of how passwordless authentication can help transform and improve your customer experience.

  • A new customer registers on a site or application by confirming his or her email or phone. For subsequent logins, the customer is auto-enrolled as a trusted user.
  • A registered user accesses a site seamlessly after the system detects no threats or compromises on the full identity context with the familiar behavior of the registered user.
  • A user accesses a service from a new device by confirming the email or phone number associated with the account and entering his or her credentials. After the device is labeled as trusted throughout the full identity context, it is auto-enrolled for seamless entry.
  • A user accesses a service seamlessly secured and browses with continuous authentication in the background until he or she reaches sensitive information. At this point, the user is prompted with passwordless authentication, such as mobile biometric, to confirm the device that is used is authentic and trusted before accessing this sensitive data.

A system free of clunky passwords can help streamline customers’ buying journeys and distinguish between legitimate users and fraudsters. Most importantly, it enables your users to enjoy a seamless experience on any digital platform. So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to give your customers the seamless experience they deserve with passwordless authentication.

Register for the Feb. 27 webinar to learn more

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Kelly Lappin

Portfolio Marketing Professional, IBM

Kelly Lappin is a marketing professional working on the IBM Security SaaS portfolio.