Authenticating Users – The Struggle to Raise the Bar

Photo Credit: Ibrahim Asad / Flickr (CC: by)Interesting quote from an article that I was reading this morning:

“When creating a patient portal that provides access to electronic health records, healthcare organizations must educate patients about the need for authenticating their identities, says Sharp HealthCare CIO Bill Spooner. […] Spooner notes that some patients have complained that the authentication method for its patient portal is cumbersome.”

It’s not the fault of the user, they’ve not been educated as to why the bar should be higher (and they don’t necessarily understand the potential consequence of a low bar). It’s not the fault of the business, after all things have been “good enough so far” so why spend money changing something that doesn’t look like it’s broken?

It’s (almost) nice to know there are others struggling with the balance between usability, user acceptance, funding and the changing landscape of threat.

Tanking Twimailer (and Trying Topify)

Dump TruckYesterday Alain E. posted the following comment on my Twimailer article

It is like Topify.com before less interesting. And in addition their twitter account is not even working. I personnally tried both and prefer Topify (first because their have a much nicer site) because their emails are better and allow follow back right from the message. In addition, I had too many down time with twimailer…

To be honest, I’ve not had any issues with the [Twimailer] service to date, but this comment sparked my interest – which peaked when I read this article on Read Write Web. It appears that Twimailer has been sold (for a somewhat paltry sum) to an unknown, who is in turn trying to flick off the service to another buyer less than a week after acquiring it.

As a result of this article, I have gone into my Twitter settings, changed my email back to the one used prior to the Twimailer service AND changed my password. I’d suggest that others do the same.

It may seem a little reactionary, but as I use my identity not only for my private tweets but also in support of my work, the potential threat of hijack is too high a price to pay for continued support for a service which has failed to inform its network of some pretty key changes in it’s organisation. Sorry Twimailer, it’s over between us, I’m moving on – and trying Topify

So my thanks once again to Alain for peaking my interest, and to the guys at RWW for keeping across these technologies – these are the reasons that you get my subscriptions to your Twitter and RSS feeds.

Photo Credit: USFarmer / Redman