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Three Tips for Balancing Security and Usability

In the modern age of cybersecurity, the implementation of effective solutions can be a double-edged sword. With traditional password systems, security is best accomplished through the application of long passwords, including random capitalization and punctuation elements. While this could work fine with just a few different passwords, juggling a dozen that need to routinely be changed is notoriously frustrating. For this reason, relying entirely on these older systems can lead to complications for businesses, including user annoyance and a loss of customer retention. Instead, it can be better to search out more balanced forms of security and usability, leveraging more modern solutions for better outcomes.

Implementing Passwordless Authentication

One of the more pronounced methods by which modern businesses balance security vs usability is through the application of biometric authentication systems. These modern solutions operate by scanning a user’s biometric data and verifying it on their endpoint device, most often a mobile. This information is kept within the device, meaning only confirmations and not personal data are sent when verifying user identity. In this way, by focussing on developing endpoint security, potential avenues of interceptions are minimized, and in some cases eliminated. Adding to these features is what is called the FIDO protocol, which serves to standardize communication between applications so multiple checks are unnecessary. Using high-level encryption, biometric systems are quickly becoming the go-to solution to modern security threats. Previously held back by a lack of biometric-compatible features on mobile devices, the growing standardization of biometrics on smartphones has opened the floodgates to wide and efficient new passwordless security avenues.

Inform Users About the Basics

Fingerprint Scanner” (CC BY 2.0) by mikemacmarketing

Inform Users About the Basics

Security is only useful if the customer knows how to use it, and therein lies a problem. With so many new technologies constantly vying for public attention, it can be difficult for the masses to separate what really works from systems leaning on underserved hype. For this reason, one of the most important parts of balancing security and usability for businesses is to let customers know what systems work, and how these can be simple enough to reduce wasted time. Technophobia is a persistent problem, so simple graphics on a website or instructional steps within advertising can be effective ways to ease users in. As initially challenging as modern solutions might seem to the uninitiated, informing users about the importance of security, and the threat of incorrect security applications, can drive the point home. With further education and understanding of potential dangers, users will be far more inclined to adopt and trust modern security methods, turning what might have been a frustrating experience into an accepted one.

Make the Right Choice an Easy One

While demonstrating the ease of use of modern solutions like biometrics can help open the door, it’s also possible to go a step further by adding functionality to the more secure and usable systems. For those businesses with larger online sections, it could be possible to implement gamification functionality to keep users coming back for more. On a more modest scale, offering bonuses and specials that are only claimable through newer systems could aid in drawing interest and greater involvement in the future. Even if user engagement isn’t instant, providing this avenue is a forward-thinking approach that could pay off significantly in the long term.

Make the Right Choice an Easy One

Computer Security – Padlock” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by perspec_photo88

Finding exactly where the line lies between usability and security will usually require experimentation. Each business has different demographics, and these demographics will often dictate how quickly and at what depth customers will integrate with newer technologies and ideas. With that in mind, the advantages of new solutions like biometric security are too profound to ignore, where their current trajectory puts them on a path to ubiquity sometime soon. Whether looking to upgrade now or sometime down the line, consider the above points carefully, and they might help give a leg up on the competition.

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