In the Big Data era, the issue of data protection is becoming more and more relevant for any business — be it a traditional retailer or an app developer. Speaking about data protection, we certainly mean the problem related to leakage of the users’ personal data. Today, people have literally all their sensitive data on the Internet — from bank card numbers to the driver’s licenses. People tend to trust a service that requires such data, but they do not think about the possible consequences.
With the ever-increasing number of data leaks, users are getting less confident in online services that ask for more than a simple email address. And they cannot be blamed for this. The introduction of the Law on General Data Protection Regulation in the EU territory has only triggered concerns among product owners. Now, data control is carried out by the regulatory body, so companies must follow general safety rules.
However, it is still possible to maintain seamless user experience and make your product more secure. Let’s navigate through some of the best practices.
How good UX leads to great data protection?
We’ve decided to write this article to talk about some of the general principles of good UX , which will allow you to achieve greater security. And we are going to start with the following.
Focus on usability
More specifically, your security flows should be as simple and straightforward as possible. This is important because only a small percentage of users will be ready to go through all the circles of security hell for the sake of greater protection. To briefly formulate this rule, it looks like this: If your product isn’t usable, it isn’t secure enough. And vice versa.
In order to better understand what we are talking about, let’s consider an example with long passwords. Today, site or app owners are forcing users to come up with strong and unique passwords, usually containing special characters, capital letters, numbers, and so on. It is inconvenient to enter such a password every time, especially when you are using a mobile device. Such a password is hard to remember, which means the user needs to install additional software to save their passwords or use other popular tools to keep them. Obviously, this process is cumbersome, takes time, and has a repulsive effect on the user.
That is why product owners often agree on a compromise solution. Product owners don’t force users to create complex passwords, but they highly recommend it. And users, in turn, come up with a simple and memorable password, which they already use elsewhere. Thus, the security aspect of a password is lost. That’s what we call a paradox.
Today, more convenient options are widely used. The first option is biometrics. It requires a face or a finger scan for the system to remember you from after the first use. Another option is authentication via a link sent to your email. Simply put, instead of fussing with passwords, product owners provide their users with a unique identification link that is available to a certain user only. By clicking on this link, the user confirms their identity and gets access to the site or the app. This is still not a perfect option since you need to open your email every time. But you can completely get rid of the problem with passwords. The only password that the user must remember is from their mail.
To summarize the above said, remember that both users and product owners are used to avoiding practices that they consider over-complex. They strive for ease of use.
Simply put, smart authentication implies that users need to go through the process of authentication only in order to perform important actions from their accounts. For example, it is triggered when you purchase something, change a password, update an email address, and so on. In other cases, authentication is optional.
A good example is Amazon. It ‘remembers’ each user after the first time they enter the site and allows them to use the personalized search for goods, make wishlists and more without authentification. It is necessary only at the very end of the process before the acquisition when you really need to confirm that you are the customer.
Nevertheless, many people may not be happy with this approach since anyone can use your device to see your chosen goods, preferences and other information (if your device has already been unlocked). It hits privacy, which is why each product owner must decide what is more important to them.
Using smart authentication, you can achieve greater security, because users don’t have to enter their passwords, emails, and other personal data every time they open the site. This reduces the risk of leakage and increases usability.
In the end, be tough-minded
In 2020, user data security is one of the most important components for the success of any online service. Scammers constantly come up with new methods of data theft, so product owners must keep up with the times and technologies to ensure proper security. Well, if they want to remain competitive, of course.
However, let’s be realistic. Even the most powerful corporations lose data and have security flaws. Yes, you should strive for maximum protection, but you shouldn’t completely sacrifice the usability of your product for this sake. Try to evaluate the maximum threat that your product faces and look for ways to protect it, because greater security doesn’t always mean highly protected data. It can actually lead to a more secure product that no one uses.