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Passwords are the Problem!

Mithun Singh
October 26, 2020 at 11:07 AM

Once users have an account which grants them access to their online insurance resources, it is pivotal they are being offered a seamless experience when accessing their data. The authentication process should cater for a just-in-time, just-enough means of authentication without being intrusive to the user journey or compromising on security. The right CIAM solution offers authentication flexibility combined with modern technologies like passwordless authentication, reauthentication, step-up and obviously, platform independent.

Passwords are the problem

  • According to the NCSC, 23 million account holders worldwide still use “123456” as their password (UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
  • 90% of internet users are worried about getting their passwords hacked.
  • On average, there are an estimated 38.4 passwords per individual.
  • More than 93% of healthcare organisations have experienced a data breach over the past three years.
  • 80% of hacking-related breaches are tied to passwords.

Passwords are the problem

Considering the speed at which technology has grown in the last 5-10 years, these statistics are paradoxical in nature. Passwords were set up as the key to provide access to your account. Think of them as keys of the front door to your online house, containing money (bank/insurance), data (insurance), secrets (health information) and much more. The more passwords a user has to manage, the higher the vulnerability. Human behaviour & naivety are the biggest obstacle & vulnerability in the approach of using passwords as the key. Since the onset of the internet and websites era, everyone has been trying to solve the problem of password hacks. Until a certain point in time, this might have been the right approach to take. But today I feel, passwords are the problem.

Loss to business

  • €150 of cost for each record hacked (IBM Study). 
  • According to Google, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a site on mobile if they had trouble accessing it and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead
  • 83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important.
  • About a third of online purchases are abandoned at checkout because consumers cannot remember their passwords.
  • Twenty-one percent of users forget passwords after 2 weeks, and 25 percent forgets a password at least once a day.

Password as means of authentication are not only a hassle for the users but also cost the companies very dearly. The numbers above speak for themselves. With cost of each record at €150, account hacks can easily cost millions to the impacted companies and their insurers.

Conversion killers

When buying a product online, users often abandon their purchase when they come across any obstacles. One of the biggest hurdles is the ‘forgotten password’ leading to the “cart abandonment” phenomenon which is a known conversion killer. It is very easy for the users to walk away from the purchase at the slightest of issues because there are always many alternatives available.

Since insurance companies, by nature, deal with a lot of sensitive data, they usually choose to have strict password complexity requirements like - certain length, symbols, character sets etc. Most of the users get frustrated with the creation of yet another password and such strict password requirements (which are a need to protect data) are considered a major roadblock in the user journey.

Change in approach

  • 374.4 million mobile phone users in Western Europe in 2019 alone.
  • 86% Unique mobile subscriber penetration at the end of 2019.
  • 76% Smartphone adoption at year-end 2019, as a proportion of total connections.
  • 86% European households have broadband internet access.

These numbers speak a lot about the adoption of the mobile phone in daily life within Europe. What started as a means of communication, has today become the magic tool which can do almost anything. The users thus naturally want all the services to be delivered via mobile & apps. Considering the situation today and with the aggressive adoption with which the mobile is being used, it only makes sense to change our mindset & approach towards solving one of the biggest conversion killers; the password.

Imagine a world without passwords? Doesn’t it look ideal?

Mobile is key

The authentication mechanism needs to move away from something which is expected only the customer knows (passwords) to something which is expected to be only in the possession of the customer or something which biometrically establishes the identity of the customer. But why not both?

From one click account creation & authentication using just email (and NO passwords) for low security groups like prospect customers who are on your site to obtain a preliminary quote and you don’t even need to know their name, to highly secure, banking grade authentication using  a combination of possession (of a device through an app) and biometrics (to access the device) is the complete spectrum offered by iWelcome Mobile Identity (IMI) solution.

Out of the box features like push to accept login, using biometrics, device memory, option to add multiple devices for authentication and many more not only make the user interaction frictionless but also keeps the security of the authentication intact.

And with a mobile SDK supporting over 14 software languages and the possibility to generate the SDK on the fly for any additional language, you are flexible to integrate this within your own app, thus providing the user with a completely frictionless yet very secure digital user journey.

The shift in mindset to move away from passwords is inevitable, just like digitalisation, so the sooner you get on this bus, the better it is for your business. 

Read the whole series

This blog is part 3 of a series of 5 blogs about identity challenges in the insurance industry. You can read the insurance blog series here:

  1. The best customer experience for Insurance, with CIAM
  2. How Insurance companies can orchestrate the best User Journeys with CIAM
  3. Frictionless User Interaction
  4. B2B2C for Insurance: How to serve different user groups
  5. Conversion from prospect to customer

Feel free to repost this blog on your website! But when you do so, please be so kind to mention the source and give us a notice via marketing@iwelcome.com.

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