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What Is Step-Up Authentication, and When Should You Use It?

Ideally, your new service or app is easy to use and access, and customers—who you want using your product as quickly as possible — can start using it with minimal friction.

Your core value proposition is just on the other side of a login screen, and making that entrance even marginally more difficult can risk sending those potential customers elsewhere.

Step-up authentication is a way to strike a balance between security and friction. It ensures users can access some resources with one set of credentials but will prompt them for more credentials when they request access to sensitive resources.

We'll go over three emblematic use cases for step-up authentication:

Users want seamless access to certain resources, but organizations want to verify their identities before they access anything more sensitive.
Employees need access to data to complete everyday work, but occasionally need access to private data that would cause damage if exposed.
You have or want to deploy a membership model that limits complete access to your site or service to paying users.
Step-up authentication enables you to provide easy access to one layer of resources and secure access to another layer of resources. This makes authentication work for you and your users and unlocks new ways to run your business.

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