About two-thirds of U.S. adults rely on a morning cup of coffee (or two) to jump-start their day. Many of them can't get their caffeine fix fast enough, and watch out if something slows them down.
Dunkin' Donuts knows this all too well. In October, the donut giant acknowledged that its Dunkin' app, which is used to pay for purchases, was admittedly sluggish and needed an upgrade. They sent an email to users explaining that a team was working around the clock to improve the app.
Why the urgency? Dunkin' Donuts sees about two million transactions per week through its mobile platform. The app has over 14 million downloads and about five million monthly active users. These users probably love their Dunkin' coffee, but speed may trump loyalty when they're trying to get to work. Their competitors know this, too, and the race for faster, more convenient mobile apps has hit full stride. Starbucks, for instance, rolled out its "mobile order or pay" feature nationwide in September. The app lets users order and pay before they even get to the shop, and then bypass the register to pick up their order. (Not to be outdone, Dunkin' Donuts was testing its own mobile ordering app in November.)
The moral of the story is that customers expect their mobile apps to access information fast, make secure transactions and have some of their information stored securely so they can get their coffee even more quickly next time. If the mobile experience is poor, including cumbersome sign-ons or having to enter lengthy passwords multiple times, they'll move on to the competition.
One of the best ways to provide a seamless user experience is with single sign-on. SSO allows customers to sign on to an app quickly and securely just once, enabling federated tokens that give them access to all of the app's information, loyalty programs, payment features and even mobile ordering.
This simple authentication method allows users to moves between features without constantly needing authorization to use the application. Behind the scenes, a customer identity and access management (CIAM) solution manages multiple credentials, including those from third parties like a loyalty program provider or payment application.
Balancing Speed with Security
The convenience of speed is only one part of the mobile app equation. Security also plays a major role in the customer experience. As the number of apps continues to increase, so do the incidents of security breaches via mobile devices. Nearly three-quarters of the 100 IT and security leaders surveyed by app provider Lookout report that their organizations have experienced a data breach as a result of a mobile security issue. According to the survey, the culprits are usually malware-laden apps, security holes and unsecured Wi-Fi connections. But user identification and authorization remain a constant threat.
The problem will only get bigger as hackers follow customer trends toward mobility and find more creative ways to gain access to critical information via mobile devices. Businesses should be able to protect access to apps the same way they protect access to their websites via laptops with SSO--and with mobile SSO, they can.
Traditionally, mobile sign-ons use an embedded web view to facilitate web-based authentication, but security and usability problems usually follow. Ping has a comprehensive solution that supports applications with standards-based SSO. Users are authenticated at the corporate identity provider, giving them secure access to all of their applications through federated and basic SSO. This delivers the convenient experience that users demand while giving IT administrators visibility and control over activities that occur beyond corporate borders.
As if SSO doesn't already simplify and secure the mobile experience enough, it's only going to get easier. In July, both Apple and Google plan to release updates to their mobile operating systems that'll enable the sharing of session cookies, allowing password autofill that wasn't available with previous SSO methods. New browser views will also protect the user from having their password intercepted by the application.
Customers know what they want from their mobile apps: speed, ease and security. Mobile SSO can help provide them with the rich mobile experience they demand.