Cyber Security vs User Experience

Cyber Security vs User Experience

Cyber Security vs User Experience

Cyber security is often seen as the opposite of user experience. Good security means inferior user experience. In the digital world that we are part of, creating the best practical user experience is critical to businesses. According to a study “a well-designed user interface could raise your website’s conversion rate by up to a 200%, and a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400%.” (Forbes 2017). These aren’t the only numbers underlining the obvious fact that excellent user experience is a great path to success. Maybe even THE path to success. In a survey more than nine out of ten people (95%) agreed with the statement that “good user experience just makes sense”. Meaning that it is nowadays more a minimum requirement than a competitive factor. It has even have been said that UX (user experience) has risen as one of the key brand differentiators.

On the other hand, year 2017 was a painfully good example on how important (good) cyber security measures are. For example, ironically the Cyber Security Month 2017, turned into cyber insecurity month with multitude of drastic incidents. (If you need a recap, read this blog). What we learned from 2017 is that no company has the luxury to ignore cyber security.

So, what does this mean? If we circle back to the first statement that user experience is often seen as opposite of cyber security – when you highlight the one, the other tends to suffer. In 2018 is that still a valid statement? Where should the line be drawn? Maybe this isn’t always an unambiguous issue, but here’s few pointers how using Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solution can help you to solve the equation. CIAM means that there’s no need to choose between them.

CIAM to the rescue

Security by design

Good user experience is a result of good planning and execution. Online services with effortless flow through the service with user friendly outlook usually are in line with good experience. Poorly planned steps can be really bad for UX; Implementing security actions where they are not needed are pointless and are often just plain irritating. A CIAM solution enables the right amount of security in the right place at the right time. For example, a user can access the service with low level of assurance (LoA) methods and when they want to perform an action that needs higher level of security, step-up authentication happens enforcing higher level of security actions without making the overall process, and therefore UX, heavy.

The multitude of supported authentication methods in a good CIAM solution mean that you can select exactly the right kind of user identity verification for all of your assets from capturing consumer users using social media identities to protecting high-value commercial transactions with PKI powered mobile app with biometrics. For the user this means that they have a great experience using the service, but their actions are also secured. Good security builds trust.


Authenticating to the service can sometimes be a bit of a pain. Authentication process gone wrong with bad user experience can mean that the user finds another vendor or site where they can do things easier. When customers move their business elsewhere, it usually means instant drop on revenue. Solutions that are easy to use but do not provide good level of assurance can lead into very serious problems with hefty consequences. For example, bad data leak including EU citizens’ information can cause fines up to 10M euros or 2% of annual global turnover after the European General Data Protection Regulation is enforced. Luckily today we have authentication methods that are the solution to this problem. Such as Mobile Connect that turns your phone into an easy to use, fast AND secure authentication device. More information about modern, secure and user-friendly authentication methods can be found here on our Definite Guide on Authentication for Applications.

Another great way to build up UX with a secure way is using Single Sign-On (SSO) that allows companies to build an ecosystem where your customers and partners can use their own corporate identities to login into your services. No need for re-authentication or remembering new account information. Easy AND secure equals good UX.

2018 – a year when you can have it all

User experience is and will be a key focus for digital business. However, this doesn’t mean that cyber security could be swept under the carpet. After 2017 the importance of cyber security could not be more underlined.  So, cyber security vs. user experience, which one prevails? Thankfully in 2018 you can have it both ways. Using a solution that supports both security and user experience will show under the bottom line and allow companies to have the best of both worlds. Send us a demo request and we will show you how your organization can have both security and convenience in a single solution.