How to fast-track identity authentication without sacrificing security

Most businesses with an online presence are aware that their customers expect seamless account creation, login and purchasing experiences. Not only that, customers also expect that businesses will keep their personal information safe. This tension between ease of use and security is as old as software itself. However, with bad actors leveraging ever-more sophisticated tools, it’s becoming harder and harder for companies to achieve a balance.

Article at a glance:

  • Customers today expect seamless online user experiences, but the threat of fraud complicates many businesses’ desires to accommodate these preferences.
  • Customers will accept friction in certain instances and reject it in others. Understanding this insight — and knowing how to leverage it — can help businesses introduce friction in a more intuitive way.
  • Behavioral biometrics monitor user behavior in the background and can give businesses a clearer path toward identity authentication that doesn’t needlessly disrupt the user journey.


The financial and reputational costs of fraud make it important for businesses to prioritize robust identity authentication measures, while considering customer experience. However, there is a path forward. By leveraging behavioral biometric tools that flag suspicious user behavior, businesses can offer friction when appropriate while allowing trusted users to continue without any unwanted disruptions. This smarter approach to friction can help businesses strike the right balance between security and user experience.

User experience is king

The complexities of providing a seamless user experience make it a difficult undertaking for businesses. Take an industry like banking, which has continued to see more customers shift their interactions online. If customers have to continuously navigate multi-factor authentication every time they use a bank’s website or mobile app, they’ll quickly become disillusioned and begin to look elsewhere.

Yet, all hope isn’t lost. It’s not as if customers are completely anti-friction; they just feel unsatisfied if they encounter friction that feels unnecessary — or if they feel as if the business they’re engaging with doesn’t understand their intentions. This means there are situations where companies can introduce friction. For example, if a customer is opening a credit card at a bank they’ve never used before, they will expect a thorough account creation process to verify their identity. In fact, they may even feel wary if the process seems too simple.

Understanding that each interaction comes with its own context is the first step. But how can businesses leverage this insight? Many traditional security architectures are not equipped to account for these subtleties even if security leaders are aware of them. Businesses must look into more advanced security tools to balance friction with user experience and validate user identities.

A smarter approach to identity authentication

Behavioral biometric technology can help businesses offer a more personalized user experience that doesn’t come at the expense of security.

What are behavioral biometrics? Unlike other security tools, behavioral biometrics monitor user behavior in the background, compiling data on specific users based on their inherent behaviors. For instance, every user moves their mouse and types their password in a slightly different way. By tracking these behaviors, businesses can easily spot when a user who usually types in their passwords copies and pastes it instead — indicating they may be a fraudster who has taken over the account. Then the system can introduce an appropriate roadblock to authenticate that user.

Without insight into expected and unexpected user behaviors, manual reviewers have no chance of administering the right amount of friction at scale. They simply don’t have the bandwidth. Reviewers can assess a user’s behavior in the context of their typical behavior and that of other platform users to identify normal and potentially suspicious activity.

This intelligent, more nuanced approach to identity authentication ultimately serves the end user, who doesn’t have to complete multi-factor authentication for every online interaction they have with your brand. This ease-of-use helps build trust and sends the message that when you introduce friction, it’s for a reason that’s in the best interest of the user.

When it comes to security, adaptability is the goal

Identity authentication is immensely important for brands and their customers. Failing to accurately identify users can have costly repercussions, which is why most brands want to fast-track this process.

Yet, the concept of “fast-tracking” might not be appropriate for the task at hand. Brands shouldn’t rush through the process of verifying users’ identities. Instead, they should work to make it more fluid and adaptable to different situations and user behaviors. This is where behavioral biometrics, built on an extensive identity network of unassuming and suspicious user behaviors, can be essential for keeping user credentials safe.