By Darin_Pendergraft_Oracle on Dec 14, 2012
Author: Kevin Moulton
Kevin Moulton has been in the security space for more than 25 years, and with Oracle for 7 years. He manages the East EnterpriseSecurity Sales Consulting Team. He is also a Distinguished Toastmaster. Follow Kevin on Twitter at twitter.com/kevin_moulton, where he sometimes tweets about security, but might also tweet about running, beer, food, baseball, football, good books, or whatever else grabs his attention. Kevin will be a regular contributor to this blog so stay tuned for more posts from him.
It happened again! There I was, reading something interesting online, and realizing that a friend might find it interesting too. I clicked on the little email link, thinking that I could easily forward this to my friend, but no! Instead, a new screen popped up where I was asked to create an account. I was expected to create a User ID and password, not to mention providing some personally identifiable information, just for the privilege of helping that website spread their word.
Of course, I didn’t want to have to remember a new account and password, I didn’t want to provide the requisite information, and I didn’t want to waste my time. I gave up, closed the web page, and moved on to something else. I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, and my friend might never find her way to this interesting website. If you were this content provider, would this be the outcome you were looking for?
A few days later, I had a similar experience, but this one went a little differently. I was surfing the web, when I happened upon some little chotcke that I just had to have. I added it to my cart. When I went to buy the item, I was again brought to a page to create account. Groan!
But wait! On this page, I also had the option to sign in with my OpenID account, my Facebook account, my Yahoo account, or my Google Account. I have all of those! No new account to create, no new password to remember, and no personally identifiable information to be given to someone else (I’ve already given it all to those other guys, after all).
In this case, the vendor was easy to deal with, and I happily completed the transaction. That pleasant experience will bring me back again.
This is where security can grow your business. It’s a differentiator. You’ve got to have a presence on the web, and that presence has to take into account all the smart phones everyone’s carrying, and the tablets that took over cyber Monday this year. If you are a company that a customer can deal with securely, and do so easily, then you are a company customers will come back to again and again.
I recently had a need to open a new bank account. Every bank has a web presence now, but they are certainly not all the same. I wanted one that I could deal with easily using my laptop, but I also wanted 2-factor authentication in case I had to login from a shared machine, and I wanted an app for my iPad. I found a bank with all three, and that’s who I am doing business with.
Let’s say, for example, that I’m in a regular Texas Hold-em game on Friday nights, so I move a couple of hundred bucks from checking to savings on Friday afternoons. I move a similar amount each week and I do it from the same machine. The bank trusts me, and they trust my machine. Most importantly, they trust my behavior. This is adaptive authentication. There should be no reason for my bank to make this transaction difficult for me.
Now let's say that I login from a Starbucks in Uzbekistan, and I transfer $2,500. What should my bank do now? Should they stop the transaction? Should they call my home number? (My former bank did exactly this once when I was taking money out of an ATM on a business trip, when I had provided my cell phone number as my primary contact. When I asked them why they called my home number rather than my cell, they told me that their “policy” is to call the home number. If I'm on the road, what exactly is the use of trying to reach me at home to verify my transaction?)
But, back to Uzbekistan…
Should my bank assume that I am happily at home in New Jersey, and someone is trying to hack into my account? Perhaps they think they are protecting me, but I wouldn’t be very happy if I happened to be traveling on business in Central Asia.
What if my bank were to automatically analyze my behavior and calculate a risk score? Clearly, this scenario would be outside of my typical behavior, so my risk score would necessitate something more than a simple login and password. Perhaps, in this case, a one-time password to my cell phone would prove that this is not just some hacker half way around the world.
But, what if you're not a bank? Do you need this level of security? If you want to be a business that is easy to deal with while also protecting your customers, then of course you do.
You want your customers to trust you, but you also want them to enjoy doing business with you. Make it easy for them to do business with you, and they’ll come back, and perhaps even Tweet about it, or Like you, and then their friends will follow.
How can Oracle help?
Oracle has the technology and expertise to help you to grown your business with security.
will help you to prevent fraud while making it easier for your customers to do business with you by providing the risk analysis I discussed above, step-up authentication, and much more.
will help you to secure mobile access to applications by expanding on your existing back-end identity management infrastructure, and allowing your customers to transact business with you using the social media accounts they already know. You also have device fingerprinting and metrics to help you to grow your business securely.
Security is not just a cost anymore. It’s a way to set your business apart. With Oracle’s help, you can be the business that everyone’s tweeting about.
Image courtesy of Flickr user shareski