Information Technology is continually working its way into every aspect of daily life from our personal computers, smart phones, and internet technologies to AI and robotics. The list is continually growing and so is the threat to digital security.
Having an excessive amount of devices that rely on weak protective measures, such as passwords for authentication, makes them more susceptible to hacking. With the adoption of IoT, smartphones, tablets, cloud-based services and sensors, the chance of breach is increasing exponentially. Companies need to continually innovate and outsmart hackers to protect their data.
Secure Authentication is Necessary
In order to protect data, we must securely authenticate a user. In the digital world, authentication is a method that determines whether an authenticator is in fact the same person who initially established the identity. Many forms of authentication have been created to protect data systems from security breaches. However, many have proven to be ineffective and cumbersome such as passwords, pin’s, security answers and tokens which no longer provide a secure link between the person and a data record.1 Moving towards a password-less authentication process has become priority in the past few years due to increased data breeches.2
Biometrics are the Leading Form of Authentication
We naturally identify one another by our physical appearance, voice, behavior and other characteristics. When all defining features and characteristics are matched, we do not doubt that we are interacting with the right person. A person’s inherit characteristics is the best way to authenticate a person’s identity.
In the digital landscape, there are three ways to prove your identity; by something you possess, such as a key to your vehicle, a document, a card, or a badge; by recalling something you know, such as a name, a secret, or a password, or by using personal physical qualities such as your fingerprint, your hand, your voice or your face.3 Possessions can be stolen, knowledge can be phished or forgotten, but who you are can’t be forgotten, exchanged, stolen or forged.
There are many benefits to using biometrics; however the leading benefit is the level of security and accuracy that it guarantees. The most well-known biometric techniques include fingerprints, face recognition, iris, palm, and DNA-based recognition.4
Increasing Interest in Biometrics
Biometric systems are effective when identification and authentication are critical. Biometrics can guard against fraudulent attempts to establish multiple identities. By searching enrolled biometric references, individuals who appear to have previously enrolled using a different identity, can now be highlighted for investigation. Without biometrics, this is a difficult task to achieve.
Customer’s interest and engagement with biometric authentication is growing every day and gaining popularity in many industries such as government establishments and the financial services industry. According to Arthur Mickoleit, Senior principal analyst at Gartner, governments have two options: either take care of identification and authentication in-house, or leverage the industry expertise of digital identity service providers (IDSPs).
According to Gartner Research, Ant Allan, “Biometric authentication uses biological or behavioural traits unique to each person and offers better UX/CX and accountability than other common methods.” Simply speaking, Biometric Authentication allows the user to seamlessly go through security checks without much thought or effort, therefore creating a better authentication experience.
Some customers prefer a better authentication experience, over a superior service.5 People are switching to biometric methods such as Biometric Facial Recognition because Biometric recognition systems have outsmarted other security measures, leaving significantly less room for cybercrime. By 2022, Gartner, Inc. predicts that 70 percent of organizations using biometric authentication for workforce access will use it via smartphone apps, despite the endpoint device being used. In 2018, the figure was fewer than 5 percent.6
More Companies and Institutions are Embracing Biometrics
Historically, applications using biometrics have been mainly for military access control and criminal or civil identification under a tightly regulated legal and technical framework. However, today sectors such as banking, retail, and mobile commerce, are finding value in the benefits of biometrics. Most importantly, over the past few years, it has been used by millions of smartphone users who are unlocking their phones with a fingerprint or a face scan.
Advantages of Biometrics
To conclude, whatever the method, all biometric technologies collect human characteristics which are:
- Universal, all individuals have them
- Unique, each individual is unique from the other
- Permanent, does not change over time
- Measurable, allows for future comparison
- Forgery-proof,a face, a fingerprint
Due to the unique benefits of biometric, our physical attributes will progressively become our key to the digital world. 7