Authentication: Make It Multifactor and Seamless

Voice technology company Pindrop has published a report on the authentication landscape in 2023 and the significant trends that will affect heavily regulated sectors such as banking, insurance, and healthcare.

To safeguard and retain their customers, it is vital for organizations to establish a convenient and seamless authentication process that works across multiple channels and maintains a high level of account security. Pindrop suggests that companies should prioritize the following factors:

  1. Flexibility: When organizations introduce security measures, customer experience is often the first aspect to be negatively affected. Among the various challenges users face, password-related issues are the most annoying hurdles, as 92% of users tend to abandon a website instead of trying to recover their accounts.

  2. Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a must: Companies cannot only rely on passwords for authentication but should instead prioritize multifactor authentication. Additionally, they should explore more convenient but secure authentication methods, such as biometrics.

  3. Contact center authentication is essential due to one-time password (OTP) risks: One-time passwords (OTPs) are usually part of MFA but come with certain risks. Organizations are redirecting more inquiries to their call centers to reduce the possibility of SMS/OTP fraud. This emphasizes the importance of implementing call center authentication measures.

  4. Deepfakes need to be checked: With the rise of conversational AI and deepfake technology advancements, they have become more accessible and sophisticated. Still, they pose significant risks that companies must consider in their authentication strategies.

  5. Security needs for voice assistants: The usual approach is to connect a smart speaker or similar device to an authorized account to secure a voice assistant. However, since such an account is typically associated with only one user, it can be challenging to authenticate the identity of a person who is using the assistant, especially if multiple users share the same device. This is a particular concern for households with multiple users, including children, where unauthorized purchases have already been reported.

"As organizations adopt the conversational AI and voice assistant technologies, they are hard pressed to balance security with customer experience. Not only that, legacy authentication methods typically don't work for these technologies, and they can impede extracting the most value from these tools. With the advancement in technology for multifactor authentication leveraging biometrics, there are better ways to validate a user's identity without treating them as criminals on every interaction," said Amit Gupta, VP, Product - Authentication, Pindrop.

Insider Intelligence report suggests that approximately 123.5 million American adults used voice assistants at least once every month in 2022. By 2026, this number is expected to increase by more than 48%. Such increased use of voice assistants poses a risk to overall users' security. Organizations must find a way to strike a balance between security and customer experience, but achieving a simple and seamless authentication process that works across channels remains a challenge.

Ian Mitchell, Co-founder of Mission Omega and founder of The Knoble, has stated that several financial services organizations are facing challenges related to authentication and account takeover. The key areas of concern are outdated tools and infrastructure and a lack of uniformity in applying fraud prevention procedures and controls across various channels. Mitchell suggests that it is imperative for companies to modernize their technology and move away from one-time passwords (OTPs) to ensure sustainable growth in the long run.