Let’s start with the obvious. Your Starbucks coffee. A Grande cup of Starbucks dark roast coffee will run you about $2.65. Had you purchased a 12 oz bag of the same Starbucks coffee, that bag would have cost you $9.99 and yielded approximately 12x equivalent (16 oz) cups. Cost: $0.83/cup. Less than $1.00/cup total, if you factor in the cost of water, filter . . .. Cost of convenience: $1.65/cup.
Thousands of commuters would agree that this added cost is worth it. I concur.
We make countless such convenience related trade-offs daily. Parking at the airport rather than taking the shuttle. Using Door Dash or a similar service rather than cooking at home. Skipping the mall and shopping online. Sending cash via Venmo instead of writing a check or paying cash.
I, too, gladly pay more for convenience. The true cost per pound of my K-cups is about $30. My self-emptying Roomba cost $999. I could have purchased a decent Hoover or Eureka upright for about a quarter of that price, a decision that would have forced me to get up off the couch to vacuum. I could go on and on.
Yet, some of our daily conveniences have a hidden cost. Like the common practice of using single sign-on, or SSO: Using one’s existing Facebook, Apple, Google, or Twitter account to login to other sites. It’s convenient. No need to fill in forms or remember new usernames and passwords. But is it safe?
Depending on one’s privacy and security choices, new sites or apps may be allowed to access your contact information, photos, birthday, location, friends/contacts, and online activities. Using social media logins also creates a network of sites that hold a shared identifier on you. As you use those sites, a shared profile is created, growing larger over time. More and more centralized data about you, your friends, and your habits.
More importantly, SSO presents a greater cybersecurity risk (than a normal site registration). If your social media login is compromised a hacker can gain access to all the accounts registered with that login profile. That’s scary enough but let’s not forget that social media accounts can be suspended or disabled also. When that happens, you will be blocked from accessing any other sites using that SSO. This same problem can occur whenever your social media platform suffers a temporary crash or outage.
So, think twice before using your social media login on a new site or app. The few minutes saved are not worth the potential risks.
And remember the timeless wisdom of Don Quixote:
“Es parte de un hombre sabio reservar hoy para mañana y no arriesgar todos sus huevos en una canasta”.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Peter has spent the past twenty-plus years as an acting/consulting CFO for a number of small businesses in a wide range of industries. Peter’s prior experience is that of a serial entrepreneur, managing various start-up and turnaround projects. He is a co-founder of Keurig.