Social Login Solutions: Addressing Vulnerabilities in Customer Identity Management

Organizations readily acknowledge that they must protect the valuable information of their employees and their organization as a whole. However, it must also be acknowledged that organizations have a responsibility to protect customer data as well.

Working geek

Are you making reasonable efforts to protect all your data assets?

Not surprisingly, customers are generally unwilling to jump through the same security hoops that an organization may impose upon its own employees. For instance, Forrester reports that 11 percent of U.S. adults have previously abandoned an online purchase either because they did not want to register online or the site they were visiting was asking for too much information.

Ironically, sites which require customers to input more information are doing so not as a violation of privacy, but in an attempt to preserve that privacy by instituting strong authentication measures. Regardless of intent, however, requiring customers to input additional identifying information results in poor customer experience that will ultimately lead to a significant loss of revenue.

The Rising Popularity of Social Login

What can you do to mitigate this problem and provide your customers with an easy way to register or sign in on your website? Venturebeat’s “3 Reasons Your Customers Are Abandoning Their Carts” gives this advice:

“To reduce the barriers to entry for shoppers, allow customers to easily register for an account on your website via their existing social identities by implementing social login functionality. This gives you permission-based access to users’ social data, which can be used to auto-populate form fields for a faster, streamlined checkout process.”

The use of social login is popular with consumers. Back in 2013, Gartner predicted that by the end of 2015, 50 percent of new retail customer identities would be based on social network identities, up from less than 5 percent in 2013.

Since that time, social login adoption has increased exponentially. According to research by Gigya, in 2015, 88 percent of survey respondents said that they have used social login to connect with sites and apps.

Why is social login so overwhelmingly popular? According to the survey, 56 percent of respondents identify convenience as their main reason for using social login. 43 percent used social login so they would not have to remember another username and password, and 25 percent said that they liked being able to use the same identity across all their devices and websites to get a more personalized experience.

Even though 96 percent of respondents indicated that they were somewhat concerned or very concerned about privacy issues, the convenience factor made social login their choice among methods of authentication with websites and apps.

Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer notes: “Although data privacy concerns are seemingly at an all-time high, it’s evident that consumers are prepared to share their personal information with businesses if presented with a clear value exchange and a high level of transparency. In addition, as consumers continue to embrace advanced authentication methods, brands must equip themselves to handle an increasing volume and variety of rich identity data in order to provide truly relevant 1:1 experiences.”

The Advantages of Using Social Login

In addition to providing convenience for consumers, social login affords businesses significant advantages as well.

The Marketing Advantage:

When users authenticate their identities with social login, they give your business permission-based access to the identity data housed within their social profiles.

This is a significant boon for your marketing department. Mining data from the social media profiles of consumers helps marketers get a more holistic picture of your target audience. This, in turn, informs future marketing campaigns for a more personalized, targeted marketing message.

The Accuracy Advantage:

When a customer fills out an online registration form, he or she may be tempted to provide false or misleading information. Even when customers provide accurate information, that information can change over time.

However, since most social networks require verification of an email address for membership, users typically provide social networks with at least somewhat accurate information. Additionally, users are more likely to update their information on social media than on individual retailer websites. This means that when consumers use social login on your site, you can capture accurate, up-to-date information for those customers.

The Completion Advantage:

While filling out a lengthy registration or sign-in form causes cart abandonment, using social login reduces cart abandonment. Since social login requires only a couple of clicks, customers tend to complete the registration or purchase process more often with social login. More registrations mean more customers. More customers mean more revenue.

The Mobile Advantage:

Very few people want to fill out a lengthy registration form on a mobile device. Why does that matter? Gartner predicts that by 2017, U.S. customers’ mobile engagement behavior will drive mobile commerce revenue in the U.S. to 50 percent of U.S. digital commerce revenue. Providing social login for people accessing your site via mobile devices increases the likelihood that they will complete the registration process.

The Security Advantage:

The article “Social Login 101” highlights yet another significant advantage of using social login authentication on your site, noting: “Traditional user registration can also leave your business susceptible to data security risks caused by consumers using the same password across multiple sites. Social login shifts the burden of identity protection, data security and sign-in support to major networks like Facebook and Google. These identity providers boast state-of-the-art security systems with features like remote logout and unauthorized activity detection.”

Login page

Use of social login protects the consumer and your business.

Ant Allan, research vice president at Gartner, observes this security advantage: “Social network identities could offer better identity proofing than ‘raw’ customer registration. This is because social network analysis can potentially identify bogus social identities, and some vendors can exploit the ‘wisdom of crowds’ to verify claimed social network identities.”

It is important to note, however, that relying solely on social login for authentication may expose businesses to more fraud. For this reason, some organizations use social login along with additional controls deemed appropriate by their IT teams.

Are you interested in reaping the rewards of social login on your website? Contact us today to discuss your security needs.

By Inframatix