“This pandemic has pushed companies to accelerate digital transformation agendas, minimize business disruption and ensure that their services remain available to customers. Companies who have yet to embark on this transformation are probably suffering, and likely hemorrhaging customers to more nimble competitors who have been able to offer greater access, convenience, and value,” said Frederic Ho, Vice President, APAC, Jumio Corporation.
However, Ho added, in a rush to jump onto the digital bandwagon, companies may have overlooked a few critical factors, which can lead to challenges in the long run.”
“Firstly, organizations need to ensure that they provide a low-friction onboarding experience for new accounts, which is essential for customer acquisition and satisfaction. Digital transformation goes beyond just digitizing the front end (e.g., the website and the app). Companies need to review and replace their legacy processes and back-end systems with digital technology, when required, to build a customer-centric infrastructure,” Ho said.
Another important factor is ensuring that their digital presence is running at the highest levels of security, in order to reduce the risk exposure.
“Worldwide online crime has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cybercriminals are exploiting the pandemic to target individuals and businesses through common techniques like phishing emails, social engineering, ransomware and installing malware onto their systems. In fact, 48% of all fraud value stems from accounts that are less than a day old (source: RSA Security) and 57% of businesses report higher fraud losses associated with account opening and account takeover than other types of fraud (SOURCE: Experian’s 2020 Global Identity and Fraud Report). That’s why companies need to ensure a high level of identity assurance during online onboarding to help prevent identity fraud.”
Finally, when developing their digital transformation plans, a key issue that companies may miss is the need to prepare for scalability.
“Often, when businesses begin conceptualizing a seamless and secure online experience, the processes in play — which may involve form-filling, emailing documents or video calls — have a relatively limited capacity and cannot scale with the business. Once those parameters are exceeded, customer transactions will not only begin to erode business efficiency, but may start to hamper the customer experience.”
Increasingly, businesses have come to realize that they need to carefully assess their digital environment, weigh the pros and cons of their IT investments, and strategize for the long run.
And so for Ho, “it may be beneficial, at times, to get expert help and conduct a full assessment to understand what exactly is required. Jumio, for example, helps our clients in this regard by providing verification solutions that can quickly and accurately match consumers’ online and physical identities. This improves the customer experience while reducing fraud and ensuring compliance across a variety of industries — from retail, to financial services and healthcare — while also bolstering security and brand reputation.”
Recent years have taught us that businesses can be impacted in significant ways thanks to diseases, floods, fires, earthquakes and many other disasters and disruptions.
In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ho said that a key difference is its scale and duration.
“Such a persistent and far-reaching global crisis has led many to predict that its impact on business operations (including remote working and an increased dependence on online services) may be irreversible, and that we’re living in a new normal. This difference has led to a clear and important realization — that our workflows and business practices will have to embrace digital, non-face-to-face approaches, or entire companies will risk becoming obsolete. It means that organizations have to come to grips with how to conduct their business online, conveniently and securely, thus pushing identity verification to front of an organization’s digital transformation efforts,” he said.
A second, crucial distinction is that the pandemic comes at a time when — more than ever before — companies are ready to set digital business continuity plans and truly test the opportunities and limitations that are at play when operating in a purely digital environment.
“For many companies, this not only involves navigating through a new digital landscape, but realigning their strategies to streamline efficiency, security and accessibility in their online operations for users. For others, a priority may be enabling employees with digital tools, as well as the training required to use the tools,” Ho added.
According to Ho, the pandemic has brought to the forefront the importance of building and maintaining a robust, seamless and secure online presence. However, companies need to think of these traits as a competitive advantage that will aid them in growing the business beyond the current challenges and looming uncertainties.
For Ho, rather than a one-time fix, companies will be in good stead if they plan to build agile and resilient operations that can weather any storm.
Some of the ways in which companies can encourage this mindset shift include:
1. Employee education
There is an urgent need to further educate employees about cybersecurity, and the steps that they can take to protect themselves while they work from home. With the rise of scams across the region during the pandemic, the average employee has now become a heightened potential security risk, which companies may not even be aware of. This is compounded by the fact that 51% of decision makers believe that their workforce does not have a proper understanding of the cybersecurity risks associated with remote working.
2. Security measures must balance user experience and friction
While companies are stepping up preventive measures against cyberattacks, customer experience is equally important in driving online customer acquisition and retention. While companies can alleviate this by focusing on user experience during the account creation and onboarding process, this often translates to lower levels of identity assurance and fraud detection. On the other hand, prioritizing security and fraud detection adds friction to the process. It’s critical for companies to navigate these challenges by deploying the right stack of technology solutions and digital strategies, which may leverage AI, biometrics and liveness detection, to deliver faster and more reliable ways to onboard new customers online and enable them to transact with confidence.
3. Implement advanced, multi-layered protection that’s constantly updated
Because of the growing threats of cyberattacks, the need for user authentication systems to go beyond passwords is critical. Especially in the instances of password resets, wire transfers or other high-risk transactions, the ability to verify the identity of a user, while assessing the possibility of any risks or illegal intentions during each virtual transaction is paramount. Today’s technologies can help match live photos with ID documents (e.g., driver’s licenses, passports, ID cards) to ensure that the person transacting is who they say they are. Additionally, real-time liveness detection can take the verification process to the next level by allowing companies to determine the user’s physical presence — thus thwarting fraudsters’ attempts to impersonate users by using photos or videos with the intention to acquire someone else’s privileges or access rights. With malicious individuals always changing their fraud techniques to take advantage of the current situation, companies need to ensure their fraud prevention process is robust enough to keep up with the evolving fraud trends.
Jumio’s end-to-end identity verification and authentication solutions help companies quickly and accurately connect a customer’s online identity with their real-world identity, deter fraudsters from creating fake accounts and meet evolving compliance mandates. Because Jumio has over 10 years of experience in the digital identity verification space and has verified over 250 million identities worldwide, we have accumulated the experience and the knowledge to optimize our AI-driven decision engine and improve our fraud detection capabilities.
This is especially pivotal for digital businesses, from financial services to telcos and travel, to confidently verify and onboard their customers remotely and seamlessly, optimize online customer acquisition and meet compliance mandates.
“During instances where business operations are disrupted, such as COVID-19 or any other unforeseen circumstances, your digital transformation efforts will prove particularly useful for companies to immediately turn to a viable online avenue to safely and quickly continue providing services to their customers. Beyond that, it can also help them scale and expand their digital services outside their own borders (even during times of crisis), since Jumio’s identity verification solutions have global coverage of over 3,500 ID types across more than 200 countries and territories,” Ho said.
Even before the pandemic struck, today’s digital-savvy, mobile-first consumers had already come to expect the ability to transact at their convenience, often in real-time and in a secure digital environment.
“This means that a strong and secure online presence isn’t just required during a crisis — it’s become a necessity for everyone in the digital age,” Ho said.
Knowing that something like COVID-19 may happen again, what is the best lesson that companies/businesses can learn from this experience?
“The pandemic has incited tremendous changes in the consumption habits of our consumers, as well as in the way we work. Arguably, the most important lesson that many businesses have learned is in the importance of ensuring business continuity at a time when physical business presence is limited, or even impossible, for an extended period. This involves being able to operate, connect and offer solutions and services to customers virtually and as smoothly as possible,” said Ho. “This goes far beyond just planning for an online presence. Instead it involves driving a full omnichannel strategy that’s aimed at engaging the entire business ecosystem and integrating multiple channels securely for improved customer experience. Accompanying this is a company’s ability to build resilience into their value chain. Examining the impact of any disruption across suppliers, operations, outbound logistics and sales channels will go a long way in supporting business continuity.”
Another important factor is market shifts, which has resulted in irreversible changes in the way people work and consume goods and services.
“Businesses should pay close attention to these trends — whether they are changes in the macro- or micro-environment. However, the lesson here isn’t just about pivoting operations, as one could never predict the actual disruption that may come in the future. Instead, it is about being flexible and creative in overcoming challenges and adapting to market needs,” Ho said. “Such business preparedness cannot be achieved overnight. It is thus important for businesses to take a hard look now and build a long-term strategy that is resilient and remain agile and ready to take on fresh challenges as they come.”