Could the current pandemic be the ideal opportunity for organisations to realise the true power of biometric identification?
Identifying individuals based on their unique biological characteristics – fingerprints, irises, retinas, ear shapes, speech patterns, typing mannerisms, lip movements and more – isn’t exactly a new security strategy. But for reasons of both supply and demand, biometric identification has largely failed to penetrate the mainstream.
That supply-and-demand equation, however, is currently seeing a rapid about-face – and with remote work now an everyday reality for the majority of organisations, now might be the perfect time for business leaders to explore the vast opportunities of biometric security.
Increased supply to meet new demand expectations
Biometric identification arrived on the market as a solution to organisations’ fast-evolving security problems. Until recently, however, there was a considerable price-performance trade-off with biometric identification systems. Organisations wanting to use biometrics-based identification or authentication had a choice: either pay an exorbitant price for accurate technology, or purchase a cheaper alternative and risk false matches. With neither option a wise move, all but a few organisations watched to see how the technology would evolve.
What initially drove a marked uptick was the mainstream adoption of consumer biometric tech, such as Apple’s iPhone-unlocking Touch ID fingerprint scanner from 2013. While not advanced enough for organisational security, the technology delivered true affordability, accuracy and user-friendliness and paved the way for the adoption of more sophisticated solutions. Now even the most expensive biometrics technologies, such as those employed at airports, are becoming more affordable – a sign that a wider pool of organisations will be able to enjoy the cost-effectiveness and heightened security of modern biometrics ID.
The market craves sophisticated security solutions
Cybercrime is a driving force behind the uptake of biometrics – in fact, global damages will reach US$6 trillion by 2021, and businesses will be spending almost US$134 billion on cybersecurity by 2022.
In the current age of malicious breaches and persistent threats, business-as-usual cybersecurity systems that rely on passwords are vulnerable to bad actors. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) that uses biometrics, however, is thwarting the efforts of cybercriminals, forcing them to overcome increasingly complicated ID requirements. Guessing someone’s password or even stealing their access card is easy; replicating a fingerprint or iris is incredibly difficult.
So it’s no wonder why a growing number of organisations are investing in biometrics-led security systems. It’s also why the MFA market is set to be worth more than US$21 billion by 2025.
Biometrics: The new normal?
With high adoption rates of mainstream consumer technology, users now not only accept biometrics as a secure form of authentication – they crave the speed and convenience. After all, what type of consumer would choose typing in a passcode every time they wanted to open their smartphone over getting their fingerprint scanned? And who would prefer to stand in a long queue waiting to be scrutinised by a customs officer when they could simply place their ePassport on a scanner, look at a camera and then be on their way? This is the new norm, as evidenced by governments around the world requiring their citizens to use biometric ID cards.
Despite this, users will and should always question how their personal biometric data is being used – and protected. To ensure the same high acceptance and adoption rates of biometric security at an organisational level, business leaders need to be vigilant around their privacy policies and data security practices, as well as their staff onboarding and communications strategies.
Working from home: An enforced revolution
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, vast swathes of the labour force are active participants in a global work-from-home experiment. It’s predicted that remote working will become a staple once restrictions are lifted, as both employers and employees recognise the amount of time, money and energy that can potentially be saved.
While flexible work arrangements have their advantages, they also raise some serious administrative and security concerns for IT departments attempting to manage remote workforces using their own – potentially unsecured – devices.
Over the coming months, many CTOs, CIOs and those leading their organisations’ digital transformations will be explaining to their C-suites why beefed-up cybersecurity systems are essential. For the smartest players, biometric identification and authentication will live at the heart of those strategies, ensuring remote-working practices are not just successful, but low-risk and high-reward.
For the first time ever, Daltrey’s intelligent middleware platform makes it possible to seamlessly integrate biometrics into your existing security systems. Speak to us today to find out how.