Digital Identity and the Multi-Device Quandary

Posted October 20, 2017

Digital Identity and the Multi-Device Quandary

Gone are the days of only using your home computer to access the Internet. That behavior is about as archaic as the home computers and dial-up modems that were used back then.

Today, just about everyone uses multiple devices to access the Internet. In fact, according to Smart Insights, consumers currently average nearly four devices per person.

In the digital world, all of these devices stand in for people. Instead of an actual customer walking into a brick-and-mortar store to shop, the device does it for us online.

While this makes it easy for digital citizens to access the Internet from practically anywhere at any time, the use of multiple devices to transact online can lead to much consternation for digital businesses.

Many digital businesses see each new device as a new identity, not knowing that this new device is actually associated with a trusted customer. Despite the average person having four Internet-connected devices, they don’t have four different identities.

Customers who access an account with multiple devices often experience login issues, usually resulting in some sort of additional authentication – answering secret questions, entering an authentication code or some other action.

Naturally, this leads to frustration among loyal customers who resent being treated like criminals and don’t appreciate the delays in their transaction – the result of which is cart abandonment and, eventually, lost customers.

The problem is not confined to just multiple devices accessing one account.

This can also happen across sites – using multiple devices to access different sites every day. You’re not one person when you access your email from your phone, and a different person when you use your work laptop to book a flight. Yet, this is how many digital businesses see you.

How can these businesses come to understand the real you, regardless of how many devices you use or from whatever location?

They need to understand a user’s digital identity. A digital identity is an amalgamation of a user’s online activity – every device they use, from every location, with their different credentials and all other behavior.

From the first time customers hit your website or app to open a new account, login to a current account or make a payment, dynamic data around each digital identity provides full context for each and every trust decision – even if that customer returns using a different device.

Trusted identities – be they a customer doing some shopping, an employee or business partner looking for critical information, or some other digital visitor – are allowed to freely transact without the need for any addition authentication or added friction.

Fraudsters are also instantly recognized and stopped before they can wreak havoc on your business.

This approach isn’t some unproven theory. It has been used by more than 5,000 organizations worldwide, and made possible through real-time global intelligence shared from those organizations. Only by using data at this scale can this digital identifier verify identities with nearly 100-percent accuracy.

Consumers have shown a willingness to adopt the latest and greatest when it comes digital devices. It is incumbent on digital businesses to adapt along with them – or face the inevitable consequences.

Armen Najarian

Armen Najarian

Chief Marketing Officer, ThreatMetrix

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