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Balancing Secure Authentication with Technological Convenience

by PortalGuard 0 Comments


Secure Authentication is just one benefit to the many recent advances in technology that have taken hold. Technology has been changing the landscape of society for decades and will most likely continue to do so at an exponential rate from now on. These changes have influenced the lives of everyday people greatly by both providing increasingly secure methods of interacting with the digital world, as well as allowing us to work more efficiently and effectively throughout our daily lives. This increase in productivity, supplanted by the many advents of technology, has allowed us more time for leisure and relaxation. Instead of having to pour over hundreds of books and documents while performing research, all we need to do is a simple Google search in order to find the information we need. These days, getting instant gratification is easy and thank goodness that's the case because we are all better off for it — in terms of secure authentication, convenience, and peace of mind.

Security vs. Convenience: The ultimate trade-off?

Despite the benefits that technology has unarguably brought about, there are definitely some drawbacks that have presented themselves as we have become more accustomed to using this technology. As we have gained more technology, we have often sacrificed privacy and secure authentication for convenience and speed. This sacrifice, which seems to have made everyone's lives better, has left us open to attackers because we become too complacent with how we protect ourselves online. The sacrifices that we often make for secure authentication seem menial at times, but can often result in a huge loss down the road — one that we often only notice when it is too late.

Protecting ourselves from attackers online can be a complex task. Just about every application online has different standards of secure authentication and, depending on the application, they can also have different levels of impact on your life should things go wrong.

One example would be for people who use an application called Mint to track their finances. Mint requires access to usernames and passwords to a user’s bank account in order to give accurate information about individual spending habits for the month. This application is certainly convenient, and millions of people use the app, but there is a security risk with giving a company this kind of secure authentication information online.

Another example of convenience that possibly sacrifices security is NFC-based applications like Google Wallet. While NFC may be a secure method of communication, it is only as secure as the operating system that is using it. When security is breached then it becomes extremely easy for an attacker to take advantage of your finances and your information — which is why secure authentication and best practices are so important today and will continue to be important in the future.

It's possible to have both security and convenience

Even though using technology can leave users open to attacks, increased convenience through technology does not always jeopardize security. In some cases, increased convenience can actually result in an increase in secure authentication for the user.

One good example is Single Sign-On, which allows a user to use one password to access multiple different applications and directories. By following SSO best practices for secure authentication, the user only has to remember one very secure password, as opposed to having to memorize dozens of insecure passwords or use duplicate passwords for multiple accounts. SSO provides a method to strike a balance between convenience and security without sacrificing one for the other. Learn more about the types of SSO protocols.

Another great example of implementing secure authentication best practices without hindering convenience is risk-based authentication. Risk-based authentication — also known as adaptive or contextual authentication — uses the context of the user such as location, time, or IP address to authenticate that user. This makes it much more difficult for an attacker to gain access to a user’s account, with no additional burden placed on the user. Find out more in our contextual authentication whitepaper.

To conclude, even though there are many instances where using technology for improved convenience can pose a security threat, there are ways to ensure that we are using technology responsibly. Technological convenience has definitely helped increase the well-being of society over time, and so long as users make the right decisions to find a balance between secure authentication and convenience, keeping your privacy should be a breeze.

For more information, feel free to navigate to our website and see how PortalGuard can help you achieve your authentication goals. If you want to see a demo of PortalGuard or discuss your authentication strategy, please don't hesitate to schedule a call with us. 

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Tags: Authentication, best practices, contextual authentication, information security, SSO, Access Management, User Authentication, user convenience