Cyber Security

How privacy and security challenges may cause people to abandon your website

More than half of consumers surveyed by Ping Identity said they ditched an online service when logging in proved too frustrating.

Image: iStock/Leestat

People have certain expectations when they sign into a website. They want the login and registration process to be smooth and convenient. They want to be able to access their information quickly and without any hiccups. And increasingly they want to know if and how their private data is being collected and used. Fail to meet expectations in any of those areas and you may find customers deserting your website in favor of one offered by a rival company.

SEE: 5 things developers should know about data privacy and security (TechRepublic)

A report released Tuesday by identity provider Ping Identity looks at how security and privacy issues can frustrate and turn away people trying to log into and use a website. Based on a survey of 3,400 consumers across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France and Australia, the report examined the typical registration and login experience, attitudes toward online privacy, and the willingness of users to share personal information.

More than three-quarters (77%) of the respondents said they’ve abandoned or stopped creating an online account for reasons due to the login or registration process. Specifically, some 40% were frustrated because they were asked to provide too much personal information. Some 33% left the site because too much time was needed to enter all the required information. And 29% said they were saddled with too many security steps.

Additionally, more than half (56%) of the respondents said they ditched an online service when logging in proved too frustrating. Further, 63% revealed that they’d likely leave a website for that of a competitor that made it easier to authenticate their identity.

Many websites ask people to create an account even when it doesn’t seem necessary. Of course, the objective is to gather information about each user for marketing purposes. One of the biggest annoyances for users in this process is having to devise yet another unique password just to use the site. And that need for a password can lead to a variety of troubles.

Among the respondents, 35% said they have to contact customer service for a site to reset a forgotten password at least once a month. Some 40% forget the answers to their security questions at least half the time. These obstacles often prompt people to create weak and unsecure passwords that they can more easily remember. When resetting a password, almost half (44%) of those surveyed said they simply make a minor change to their old password or reuse a password from another account.

Of course, password alternatives exist and are gaining more traction. Implementing an alternative is one step toward easing user frustrations. Some 46% of the respondents said they’d prefer to use a site that offers an alternative to passwords, with almost 60% expressing comfort with the concept of a digital ID that securely stores personal information on a smartphone.

Data privacy, or lack thereof, is another hot button issue for website users. Among those surveyed, 85% said they want to know how online services share their personal information. But 72% of the consumers revealed that it’s difficult for them to find out just how their data is shared. These sentiments do translate into whether or not someone would stick with a specific website.

A full 60% admitted that they’ve dumped an online account over privacy concerns, with almost half saying they’ve done so more than one. On the flip side, 63% said they’d feel better about a company that made it easy to see how their personal information was being used. Some 20% would even recommend the company to other people.

“With more options than ever before, businesses now need to integrate their security, privacy and user experience strategies to keep up with modern consumer expectations,” Ping Identity chief customer information officer Richard Bird said in a press release. “Individuals have no hesitations about finding better experiences elsewhere, so companies that prioritize customer experience now will earn loyalty in the long run.”

To avoid losing customers and users due to poor or frustrating website experiences, businesses should adopt the following measures as suggested by Ping Identity:

  1. Make the registration and login process fast and easy.
  2. Offer more secure password alternatives such as multifactor authentication and digital IDs.
  3. Be transparent about privacy. Even better, give users the power to access their own data.

Also see

  • Data privacy laws: A mini glossary (TechRepublic)
  • The top 5 reasons data privacy should be practiced every day (TechRepublic)
  • Data Privacy Day: 10 experts give advice for protecting your business (TechRepublic)

  • Data privacy is a growing concern for more consumers

    (TechRepublic)


  • Data privacy laws are constantly changing: Make sure your business is up to date

    (TechRepublic)


  • Finally, the world is getting concerned about data privacy

    (TechRepublic)

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