When it comes to authentication, most security professionals see it as a necessary evil. It provides security at the expense of the end user’s desire for a frictionless experience.

That way of thinking, however, was challenged at the Opus Research Intelligent Authentication 2016 conference. The two-day event made a point to highlight authentication not only as a security measure, but also as an integral part of the user experience.

Solving the Paradox

When implemented appropriately, frictionless authentication methods can increase both security and customer satisfaction. At the event, Sarah Bramwell, the Head of IVR and Telephony at TalkTalk, said the company was able to reduce the average agent call time by a full minute using voice biometrics. Specifically, the U.K. telecommunications giant improved customer satisfaction by reducing call times, and it also fostered confidence in biometric security over passwords and PINs among users.

It is clear there is a real ROI when it comes to biometrics. Organizations such as TalkTalk, top U.K. banks and RBC Canada, for example, have been reaping the results already, many times ahead of their competitors.

Watch the On-Demand Webinar: Five Steps to Overcome Customer Authentication Chaos

Authentication Limitations

Biometrics can be extremely beneficial for both the enterprise and the end user, but it is important to consider its limitations. MasterCard shared some advice regarding biometrics at the conference. For example, consider the fluid nature of technical, legal and regulatory measures that can vary over time, and across industries and geographic locations.

The various speakers at the conference also emphasized the importance of:

  • Determining where to store biometric data (central server versus device-stored);
  • Matching the right biometric appropriately to each protected asset;
  • Understanding hardware limitations; and
  • Performing proof of concepts and usability tests.

Improving User Experience and Security

All things considered, biometric authentication is here to stay. With organizations such as the FIDO Alliance and other standards emerging in the space, it is exciting to see how the industry is adapting authentication mechanisms to accommodate the demand for a seamless user experience.

At IBM, we pride ourselves on our access management capabilities. Together with Opus Research, we hosted a webinar providing organizations with a simple, five-step approach to a secure, yet seamless authentication process. If you missed the conference and would like to learn about this framework, watch the webinar, “Five Steps to Overcome Customer Authentication Chaos,” hosted by Opus Research founder and lead analyst Dan Miller.

More from Identity & Access

CISA, NSA Issue New IAM Best Practice Guidelines

4 min read - The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) recently released a new 31-page document outlining best practices for identity and access management (IAM) administrators. As the industry increasingly moves towards cloud and hybrid computing environments, managing the complexities of digital identities can be challenging. Nonetheless, the importance of IAM cannot be overstated in today's world, where data security is more critical than ever. Meanwhile, IAM itself can be a source of vulnerability if not implemented…

4 min read

The Importance of Accessible and Inclusive Cybersecurity

4 min read - As the digital world continues to dominate our personal and work lives, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity has become critical for individuals and organizations. But society is racing toward “digital by default”, which can be a hardship for individuals unable to access digital services. People depend on these digital services for essential online services, including financial, housing, welfare, healthcare and educational services. Inclusive security ensures that such services are as widely accessible as possible and provides digital protections to users…

4 min read

What’s Going On With LastPass, and is it Safe to Use?

4 min read - When it comes to password managers, LastPass has been one of the most prominent players in the market. Since 2008, the company has focused on providing secure and convenient solutions to consumers and businesses. Or so it seemed. LastPass has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons, with multiple reports of data breaches resulting from failed security measures. To make matters worse, many have viewed LastPass's response to these incidents as less than adequate. The company seemed…

4 min read

Cybersecurity in the Next-Generation Space Age, Pt. 3: Securing the New Space

8 min read - View Part 1, Introduction to New Space, and Part 2, Cybersecurity Threats in New Space, in this series. As we see in the previous article of this series discussing the cybersecurity threats in the New Space, space technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate — with new technologies being launched into orbit at an increasingly rapid pace. The need to ensure the security and safety of these technologies has never been more pressing. So, let’s discover a range of measures…

8 min read