The rise of biometrics

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BiometricsBiometrics, until recently was largely used in science fiction. It’s now become a system that is widely used and accepted for data authentication, verification and encryption.

Biometrics builds on the concept of replacing “something you have” like a password with “who you are” which has proven to be more secure technology to safeguard personal information, and deliver greater convenience for users.

Biometrics is here to stay

Biometric solutions are now everywhere. They’re being used in offices, stores, airports, bus stations, including the gadgets you use!

Research from BBVA show that the global biometrics market will reach $22bn by 2020, nearly doubling from the $11bn in 2015. Whilst Juniper Research estimates more than 770 million biometric authentication apps will be downloaded per year by 2019. This is being driven by high-profile deployments of biometric authentication like Apple’s Touch ID, Samsung’s own fingerprint scanner and those created by new innovators who are taking advantage of mobile device proliferation and capability advancement.

How your business can use it

There are two types of biometrics. One is behavioral biometrics which looks at patterns and how certain activities are performed by an individual. This is used to verify if a person is who they say they are. One biometric system that uses this is keystroke or typing recognition.

Another type of biometrics, which is commonly used by businesses, is the physical biometrics which uses the unique features of a person to identify and verify who a person is. It’s utilised by major companies not just to create innovative products and solutions but also to reinforce their security. Examples of systems using this method are fingerprint authentication, facial scanning, voice recognition, iris or retina scanning, and others.

Below are three ways you can implement a biometrics system into your business:

1. As a keyless office entry and to give controlled access to certain areas in your office. Fingerprint scanning to authenticate employees is one of the most common biometric systems used in offices. It’s more convenient and safer because unlike keys, passwords, security cards, and other electronic entry devices, a fingerprint cannot be lost, shared or duplicated, and is unique to an individual. Moreover, biometrics, as a door lock, is an ideal way to secure any room in your office you want to limit access to – like your server room.

2. As a security tool to support your bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy. The growing number and variety of devices entering the workplace is a reality every business owner should immediately deal with before they cause a problem to the business. Whilst developing a BYOD strategy is usually easy, the implementation of policies is often challenging especially if the process of authentication for access is long and complicated. To ensure a smooth implementation of your strategy, you can use biometrics (can also be in conjunction with passwords) to provide higher-assurance authentication without requiring any significant change in user behaviour. A biometrics system like single sign on (SSO) will make it easier for your employees to sign into various applications on various devices. Reducing the temptation to find a way around security which is a win-win situation for the business and your employees. Biometrics logins will also make it easier for your IT team to identify who accessed what.

3. To improve your customer experience. If you and your employees don’t find remembering passwords cumbersome, your customers may feel otherwise. Tracking multiple passwords, for multiple devices from which they access secure sites, is an inconvenience. Passwords also can easily be guessed or stolen. Voice biometrics or voiceprints is one of the biometrics systems used by online retailers today so their customers no longer need to remember any passwords to transact business. It works by recording a voice and translating that recording into a voiceprint of data points. Algorithms are then used to determine whether the data points spoken into a phone match those in the voiceprint registered to a specific voice. Bricks-and-mortar stores, on the other hand, can use the fingerprint identification system in lieu of loyalty cards so their customers can immediately begin to enjoy their benefits. Customers will surely appreciate the simplified access and not having to recall passwords and usernames. HSBC, for example, plans to offer voice recognition and fingerprint authentication to its customers soon. Whilst MasterCard has opted for a different biometric, announcing that it will be offering selfie authentication to it’s customers in the near future.

Clearly biometrics is a tool you can deploy not just to secure your business assets but also to help you improve your service and increase customer satisfaction.

Investing in a biometrics-based system may be an investment, but the high level of accuracy, convenience, and performance it offers makes it worth it.

If you are interested in deploying a biometric-system for your business, contact us today.