Recently, two starkly contrasting news articles caught my attention. The first was a commentary on wearables, biometric sensors and new ways of authentication, which included using your face (with hopefully more than a Facebook picture). The second one covered yet another data breach (a media event these days) with healthcare payer Premera the unfortunate victim this time around. Fascinating, isn’t it? On one hand, technology continues to drive innovations that allow your face, fingerprint, heartbeat and other biometric readings to be read from your mobile phone or smart watch as the basis for authentication … even for financial transactions. On the other, according to the Washington Post, over 128 million users have had their personal and medical information compromised in the healthcare industry alone. It’s clear that consumer electronics and enterprise security are becoming indistinguishable in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and that the adage “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” has never been more relevant. But what is the X-factor in this push and pull between consumer and enterprise security? The answer may surprise you.
It’s hard to imagine disciplines which are at face value more disparate than User Experience and Cybersecurity, with the former conjuring images of excited teams creating personas at a whiteboard adorned with colorful Post-it® notes, and the latter’s Hollywood stereotype of uber-techies in dark control rooms abuzz with monitors, probing rootkit vulnerabilities while monitoring intrusions. However, recent enterprise focus on experience as the driver of all things IT has made UX and Cybersecurity unlikely bedfellows. As consumers continue to demand more and more elegance in their interactions with technology (does anyone really think that 2FA is the epitome of authentication?), the pressure has never been greater for security technology to enable this elegance, while protecting individual and enterprise assets alike.
The pace of digital innovation and the proliferation of the Internet of Things have driven a massive land grab, dominating recent conferences like CES and SXSW. This innovation, however, has not always been driven responsibly (the recently released Markey report found flaws in nearly every connected car system it probed). As enterprises push digital investments, it’s important to ensure that User Experience and Cybersecurity teams are engaged, as odd as it sounds. Let the balance between the ideal experience and the realities of protecting customers, employees and the enterprise alike be established by those most invested in promoting those interests. The result will be an appropriate compromise between two of the highest priorities of today’s businesses, while technology drives towards enabling the perfect security experience.