iovation is on the 32nd floor of a high rise in Portland Oregon.

Along with outstanding daily views like the one above, being on the 32nd floor means you spend a lot of time listening to other people’s elevator conversations.

Woman 1, looking at her phone: “Ugh. I hate my bank.”

Woman 2, also looking at her phone: “Why?”

Woman 1: “It’s so stupid. Why do I have to enter my whole email and my whole password just to see if our checks were deposited?”

Woman 2: “I know, right? My bank makes me put in my first pet’s name.”

Woman 1: “It’s time I switched banks anyway.”

The elevator doors open and off we all go to lunch. I’m serious: the authentication experience is now something people talk about, and compare, on their way to lunch.

Last summer during the NBA finals Wells Fargo started running this series of ads. It was remarkable, to me anyway, to see a major consumer brand talking about the difficulty in using passwords, as well as overall authentication usability. It was remarkable to see them differentiating themselves on this point.

But that’s the world we live in now. We’ve been promising ease of use and continual access for years, only to realize that it will take an authentication revolution for us to get there.

What will “there” look like? My guess:

  • Easy to use adaptive MFA built into every app
  • A seamless combination biometric, behavioral and MFA, with realtime authorization added
  • Risk and context will be a part of every authentication experience: just because “Michael” knows the PIN and has the thumbprint, ask him for more if he’s coming through TOR
  • Authentication tools will get “fired” in short order if they deliver poor experiences

Revolutions are always painful, but when done for the right reason they bring about good results. We’ve been talking about the value of our customers and adopting a Customer First mentality in online solutions for a long time. Some companies with deep pockets and deeper expertise can create that experience, today, without adding risk (see Amazon, The Onion, and HBO Now for examples). But with this intense parallel focus on experience and risk, pretty soon everyone will have to up their game to stay on the ride.

Last week at RSA, iovation unveiled our new LaunchKey MFA product, which joins our ClearKey service in a dynamic authentication suite that addresses these problems.

Have a worse Authentication Story to tell?

Feel free to share with us at - who knows, it could be juicy enough to be featured in a future blog post.