With the prevalence of online crime and the rise in cyber-attacks, it’s difficult to neglect multiple authentication (MFA), which aims to ensure that the person accessing a system or resource (such as a website) is actually the person they say they are. While MFA provides an additional layer of security against unauthorized access and can prevent phishing attempts, a question stands out: How does this affect website conversion rate?
This article will discuss how you can create seamless authentication journeys for your website visitors by supporting multiple authentication methods.
Why is MFA Mandatory?
With increasing data breaches, MFA is now mandatory in many companies. It has become a necessary step to protect sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has unveiled a strategy to move the US government toward a zero trust cybersecurity approach where MFA is practiced by investing in centralized identity management systems and incorporating them into applications. This strategy helps ensure better data security of customers’ identities.
Even when adhering to a particular industry or geographical laws, MFA is now a must. For example, PCI-DSS 4.0 mandates using MFA to prevent unauthorized users from accessing payment-processing systems, especially for accounts that have access to the cardholder data, to maintain a secure environment to help prevent card payment fraud.
What Type of MFA Do You Need?
Knowing what MFA strategy to adopt for your business can be tricky since every user’s authentication journey must be considered. Typical MFA methods include SMS-based authentication, one-time passwords (OTPs), biometric verification, phone-based authentication, FIDO2, etc.
Meanwhile, the use of smartphones has become predominant in the last decade. The advent of mobile banking and the proliferation of social media have all contributed to the rise in smartphone ownership. This, in turn, has popularized the use of phone-based authentication but as convenient as they are, smartphones do not provide perfect security protection as there are cases where phones do not work. For example, you may be in a remote area with no signal or have to deal with your phone getting lost or out of battery. These cases call for alternative authentication methods.
Besides, users are diverse in every sense of the word. They have different needs and preferences and varying levels of expertise, and the same goes for their security needs. For example, a user accessing enterprise data from their mobile device will have different authentication needs than a user accessing the same data from their laptop. Some enterprises have employees who work remotely in all kinds of locations and use varying devices, and they may also need to authenticate themselves with different credentials depending on their location and the data they are accessing.
In all, a one-solution-fits-all approach to MFA might hurt the experience of your diverse users, hence the need to support multiple authentication journeys. For example, an excellent alternative for use cases where mobile phones are restricted is the use of FIDO2 keys.
FIDO2 is a passwordless authentication method and does that by employing public-key cryptography. Passwordless authentication relies more on possession (something you have) or inherent (something you are) factors rather than knowledge (something you know) factors, and this is done by providing passwordless options such as security keys and biometrics.
How Supporting Multiple Authentication Journeys Increases Conversion Rate
In today’s digital world, while customers want convenience, they also value the security of their data. Over three-quarters (77%) of users expect companies to have strong identity verification safeguards. Another survey conducted on 9000 consumers showed that 70% of the responsibility for protecting and securing customer data lies with companies and only 30% of the responsibility with the consumers themselves.
The more secure and user-friendly a website is, the more likely it will convert a user. While a smooth user experience means that customers are less likely to abandon their shopping carts and have more potential to complete their purchase, a smooth authentication process affects conversion rates as it means fewer dropouts, better branding and more revenue for companies.
Sites with complicated registration and any additional time-consuming steps are abandoned. Surveys indicate that 24% of customers abandon their cart at checkout when required to create an account. Even a one-second delay in page load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Supporting multiple authentication journeys allows users to authenticate themselves in various ways, depending on their use case and what they feel most comfortable with, increasing conversion rate and customer satisfaction.
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