Online retailers should boost identity and access management controls, Gartner says, since half of new customers signing into merchant websites will use social network credentials by the end of 2015.
The research company released findings that an increasing number of users will access retail sites using linked social networking sites like Facebook.
Gartner highlighted a significant increase in this activity over the next couple of years: Today, less than 5 percent of retail customer identities are based on social networking profiles.
Ant Allan, research vice president at Gartner, said in a release that users desire the convenience of importing required registration information to retail sites. But this will carry risks, namely, including the increased likelihood of fraud.
"[T]he lack of identity proofing and weak authentication for social network identities can expose merchants to more fraud," Gartner said. "Service providers therefore have to defend themselves. They may allow social network registration, but augment the process with additional controls when a retail site provides access to sensitive data and monetary transactions."
The trend will, however, fuel higher demand of specialized vendors that support the use of social networking identities through “open standard,” or publicly available, authentication systems like OpenID or OAuth, which are used by sites like Twitter and Facebook, Allan said.