The Art & Science of Dynamic Friction: Powering Protection and Growth at Scale

The Art & Science of Dynamic Friction: Powering Protection and Growth at Scale

November 7, 2019

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Mention “airport security” to the modern jet-setter, and frustrated groans are likely to be the response. Even with the knowledge that this slow, clunky process of getting through a mile-long lineup is for the protection of everyone traveling, most flyers still wish it was done differently.

Because the process doesn’t discriminate (or discriminates against everyone, depending on your perspective), every individual goes through the same initial level of scrutiny – a static set of steps to pass through, even if they’ve flown a hundred times before without issue. Take this approach to security into the digital landscape, and the very same inefficiency is true of traditional, rules-based fraud prevention solutions. They’re the TSA of Trust & Safety, and businesses can bet that forcing people through these inflexible hoops is just as discouraging for users as a trip to the airport.

The big difference? People still have to get on the plane – they don’t have to use your products and services.

The breakdown of trust (and what to do about it)

In a recent webinar with Digital Transactions and Gusto, Sift Trust & Safety Architect, Kevin Lee, covers this exact problem. He notes that while 99 percent of users on a website are legitimate, there still needs to be protection from the one percent that are attempting abuse. But in the past few decades, businesses that wanted to keep up were forced to rapidly adapt their infrastructure for the e-commerce world – something they were, and are still, largely unprepared to do effectively. Brick-and-mortar security doesn’t translate to digital; an attempt to mimic it led to set-and-forget systems built around fixed rules.

But, coupled with an increase in the complexity, size, scope, and sophistication of fraud attacks over just the past five years, today’s prevention and mitigation won’t work if it can’t acclimate. It has to be simple, flexible, fast, and comprehensive. It’s no longer enough to focus security efforts on payment protection alone; companies have to consider several types of payment abuse, as well as account takeover (ATO), fake content, spam, and scams. Give a fraudster a loophole, and they’ll gladly (and quickly) exploit it.

All of these subcategories of fraudulent behavior lead to an erosion of trust on all sides. Buyers don’t know which merchants or even fellow users to trust; merchants don’t know which users are legitimate and which are nefarious. Brands lose business based on perception and reputation, and when they put protective rules in place, stymie their own growth and lose revenue as a result of multi-layered authentication that users have no patience for.

It’s for this reason that forward-thinking businesses are implementing a Digital Trust & Safety approach that enables Dynamic Friction. This real-time fraud prevention strategy uses machine learning to apply friction (such as multi-factor authentication) only when it’s actually necessary, allowing users a speedier, more tailored experience based on their actual risk potential.

It’s time for businesses to break the rules

With Dynamic Friction, risk level is assessed in real time so that merchants can offer safe, convenient, and customized user journeys that only become more accurate and appropriate over time.

For businesses, this means scalable growth and security that never forces them to treat valid users like criminals, puts a hard stop to ATO and payment abuse, and gives them an opportunity to be part of making the internet a better place for everyone. To dive deeper into the conversation, watch the full webinar.

Find out how you can apply Sift’s Dynamic Friction to your fraud prevention strategy, grow your business, and drive customer loyalty with our new ebook, Dynamic Friction: Delivering the Right Experiences at the Right Time.

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