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Product & Engineering

Accessibility is Security

I’d like you to stop and think for a minute: besides Duo, what security software do you love to use?

If you find yourself pausing a little longer than usual to think about it, or you have caveats to your answer, you’re not alone, because there’s an expected trade off between security and usability. At Duo, one of our core values is around usability, because the more usable our solution is, the more likely it is to be used. The more your users are covered, the less likely it is for you to be breached.

As we’ve grown as a company, we find our solution being used in a variety of environments by a diverse group of people, some of whom require our solution to be accessible. We’ve been fortunate in the past that our solution has been accessible enough, but it wasn’t entirely intentional. At the beginning of 2016, we had the good fortune of working with the accessibility team at Ohio State University. They have strict requirements for their users, and they wanted to ensure our service would meet those requirements.

Peter Bossley, an Accessibility Analyst at The Ohio State University’s Office of the CIO put it simply:

“We are committed to an environment of inclusion of all people, including those who rely on assistive technologies for access to their devices, and we appreciate Duo’s collaboration with us to provide our students, faculty, and staff with a multi-factor authentication service that provides equal access for those with disabilities.”

His team walked us through the experience of using our service as a visually impaired person, and offered insight that allowed us to make improvements in our mobile applications and authentication experience so that all of their users could participate in being secure.

Improving on what was already there is good; however, it’s more important to make this part of our team’s ongoing process when building solutions, by training them in accessibility practices. We’re working with Michigan State University’s Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting to train our team, and to validate that our service is WCAG 2.0 compliant later this year.

Dr. Sarah Swierenga, Director of Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting at Michigan State University, has this to share:

“Companies like Duo Security, who are committed to enhancing the accessibility of their services, can provide an exceptional user experience for all people. In addition to meeting the needs of users who have disabilities, developing products that meet the international accessibility standards provides greater usability for everyone.”

Security is a necessity, but it doesn’t have to be a necessary evil, and it should work for your users—every single one of them.