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The cybersecurity necessity of intelligent friction

May 15, 2018    |    Cyber Security    |    Lauren Elkins

Have you ever heard of intelligent friction? Chances are you’ve experienced it. Daily. As the need for careful cyber security grows, it’s becoming more and more important. Let’s start with what it is. Intelligent friction is where a business intentionally applies friction that benefits you. Here are some examples to give you a clear picture.

You open a web browser and go to your bank’s site. From there, you have to enter your username, password and answer one of your security questions at random. You’re finally in and can see if you have enough in the bank account for that sweet smart home bundle you’ve been waiting on to go on sale.

You call your cable provider to try and negotiate a better monthly price. First, you get a menu asking you to select from options, so they can route your call. Then you have to key in your account information. You go through a few more menus and wait on hold before finally talking to an actual person who starts the call by asking for your account information.

You’re trying to find an item at a large home improvement store and walk the long aisles for several minutes before stopping an employee and asking for help. They send you to an aisle a mile away, but it’s not the right one. You keep asking until you find the employee who actually stocks that aisle, and they walk you to the location of the product.

Truth be told, only the first is an example of INTELLIGENT friction. The other two are simply customer friction. The trick is to take the friction and make it more intelligent. It becomes intelligent when it BENEFITS you. This benefit doesn’t always equate to faster service but does equate to better service in some way, whether it’s more secure, tailored to your area or showing you only the products that match your model.

When it comes to security online, intelligent friction matters to businesses in this way: how can they deliver on a promise of protecting customer data from hackers while granting them access to their information without driving them away? A bank’s website needs to require strong enough access requirements that it’s not easily hacked, but it can’t be too many hoops to jump through or users will abandon it for the bank with the best phone app.

Customers are used to the familiar: a password and username to authenticate their identity. Unfortunately, hackers are used to this familiar as well. They’re even more used to how casual we tend to be with our passwords, choosing weak ones, reusing the same password and failing to change passwords frequently for our most sensitive accounts.

We recently wrote about the future of the password, something we’ve seen more and more companies adopting: biometrics.

Rather than remembering obscure number/letter combinations, coming up with long passphrases or using a password manager to supplement your memory, your biometric information becomes your key. Would you feel more secure knowing that your face, fingerprint or irises are what you need to access your accounts?

Would a fingerprint, iris scan or facial recognition provide you with the sense of security you need and the least amount of friction for accessing your account? Or does it feel like a breach of privacy in an entirely new way?

It’s an interesting thought to consider that if we don’t encrypt our biometric data when using it to login to accounts in the future, cyber criminals might be “stealing” our fingerprints, irises and faces. Make sure you are taking steps for both yourself and your business to protect your privacy by using a VPN. The intelligent friction we’ve employed provides you with a great user interface for connecting to one of our many servers, after which all of your data is encrypted going to and from the web. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial today.

Better Safe Than Sorry