Don’t block customers, protect them!

Dan Benger
December 7th, 2020

As business leaders, we know our customers are our most important asset. They are the dynamic force that enables us to grow and succeed, and our raison d’etre is to provide them with beneficial and valuable services and products. We all invest a lot of effort into bringing them onboard, nurturing them, and ensuring they are happy and satisfied with our services. But do we protect them? Can we ensure they can use our services safely? 

Let’s face it: we cannot 100% guarantee our customers that their accounts won’t be compromised, their credentials won’t be stolen, their sensitive data won’t be shared with others, or that their online transactions won’t be the victim of frauds. Not only can we NOT fully protect our customers, it gets even worse. We don’t even know if or when identity theft or fraud is taking place!

Think about it, online customers entrust us with their most valuable data: their private data, their personal credentials, identity information and PII. But in turn we only use old-fashioned tools, and we use them to protect networks and devices rather than protecting the most important and valuable assets, the users themselves, i.e. your customers.

Shifting Security Focus to the Entire Customer Journey

Customer journey is a very well known term in the marketing, sales and support spaces, but what about security across the customer journey? The mindset in many industries has shifted to the understanding that we have an ongoing mutual relationship with our online customers. It’s our duty to provide them with meaningful experiences during their entire interaction with us. Entire departments like “Customer Success” are being recruited solely for this matter, and marketing and sales have changed their entire focus and strategy.

It’s time for engineering and security teams to do the same.

Today, companies and vendors have little to no visibility into unusual user activity in their system. A sales rep that is not familiar with her or his customers' journey is probably not doing his/her job properly. However software engineers who build and own SaaS applications to serve their online customers know very little about their users, yes, the users that actually use the solution they build and maintain. The software engineers and the security people have no idea how their users use their app and if they make any harm that may risk other users. Furthermore, they find it very difficult to distinguish between legit users, fraudster users and fake users. Most of them fail to answer the very simple question: how can you guarantee that this user is a legit user or not? In other words, who is really behind the screen? 

This reality could have severe repercussions for both customers and vendors. Customers are left vulnerable to account takeovers, identity theft, fraud and attacks. They could be subjected to financial theft, like money being transferred from their bank accounts or purchases being made in their name. This is true even if their credentials are stolen from a website in which they never entered their financial details. For vendors, this could lead to huge mistrust, brand authority deterioration and overwhelming financial consequences. 

online password protection

User expectations have also shifted. Privacy is a huge issue these days.  The US Senate is cracking down on large companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter who are violating user’s trust and sharing their personal data. Europe is already light years ahead with GDPR. The US is in its footsteps. Privacy has become one of the most important questions of our digital generation, and will continue to be so.

Yet, existing security tools only secure a small section of the online customer journey. WAFs, IAMs and IDPs operate as gatekeepers, but they are totally blind once the online customer is inside the application. The users’ accounts might be compromised after entrance, while they are browsing pages and screens, clicking on buttons, choosing options, filling in their data and consuming information.

In the meantime, cyber criminals and attackers might be collecting their personal information, sending out internal data from the system or taking advantage of their account to gain access to higher-ranking, more valuable accounts. Ironically, customers are the most defenseless exactly in the place they feel the most secure and provide the vendors with the most trust. 

In addition, the disproportionate focus on the network entrance creates annoying friction for users, who are often denied entrance unjustifiably. For companies, this means lower conversion rates and risking their users.

This vulnerability is especially true in our era of remote work i.e. most people work from their private homes. Online users and online customers are subject to many more security and identity threats e.g. account takeovers, credential stuffing and brute force attacks. But even beforehand, users were connecting from a myriad of devices, making it more difficult for vendors to protect them. 

User Behaviour Analysis Will Ensure Security and Success

Preventing account takeover completely is on the verge of impossible. Today, most people can have their online identities stolen from them, if enough attention is given by perpetrators. Bad actors are getting increasingly more and more sophisticated, using bots and advanced algorithms to attack online apps. That’s why it is crucial to implement a solution that will help SaaS companies to proactively protect their online customers if such a takeover occurs.

It’s time we started looking at contextual user behavior to identify if a customer is not acting normally. An abrupt change in behavior or unusual events could mean the account is compromised. But that doesn’t mean GAME OVER. This is what SecureNative is all about, protecting your SaaS application across the entire customer journey.   

Protecting Customers from Account Takeovers and Identity Theft

SecureNative provides a security solution for SaaS companies that wish to protect their online customers, not only during the signup phase but across the entire customer journey. We offer an innovative approach to companies. Instead of blindly blocking users from entering the system, we have a wide view of the entire customer journey. Rather than blocking your users we protect them and your app from bad activities. We don’t block users, we stop bad activities. 

Thus, we analyze and identify risky behaviors, alert companies that their users might be compromised, and stop the attacks. This is a huge shift compared to the one-zero approach used so far. We believe that organizations that aspire to grow and gain more users wish to provide the best user experience. This means not blocking users, or even slowing down or challenging the users, but rather blocking risky user behavior. 

I know how little most vendors know of their user behavioral patterns. Unfortunately companies usually become aware of identity thefts or frauds after something bad happened, and then it is way too late and everyone gets hurt. But as of today using SecureNative user protection platform companies shouldn’t wait for their system to be attacked and stolen from.

We all live and breathe an online, digital world, and the threat of identity theft and privacy violation is real. But this is not a deterministic reality. Open a free SecureNative account and Join us in making the world a safer and more collaborative place. Together, we can proudly claim: We protect our users.