October 24th, 2017

How Biometrics Is Transforming Data Security

The recent unveiling of Apple’s Face ID feature for its iPhone X — the ability to unlock the phone just by looking at it — has the potential to disrupt digital commerce. Although Apple is not the first company to add facial recognition to smartphones, it’s much better positioned to push a nascent idea into the mainstream.

Already, fingerprint recognition is a ubiquitous feature that consumers expect in smart devices. As consumers continue to embrace the convenience and seamless experience of biometric authentication, enterprises have the opportunity to adopt this technology as part of their data security strategy.

With more pressure coming from regulators to adopt multifactor authentication, the role of biometrics will become especially prominent. We see these trends reflected in market figures. Research from Markets and Markets predicts that the biometrics market will grow to $32.73 billion by 2022, roughly double from 2015.

Biometric Benefits for Security

Everyone knows the password is on its way out — a prediction Bill Gates made back in 2004 while still the CEO at Microsoft. “They just don't meet the challenge for anything you really want to secure,” he said at the time.

Today, no one would argue with that statement. We know that the majority of data breaches resulting from hacking involve a weak or stolen password. Biometrics, on the other hand, has a significant advantage in providing more sophisticated authentication techniques that are difficult to circumvent.

Take voice biometrics as one example. It uses more than a hundred unique characteristics such as accent, pronunciation, even the size of the nasal passage. Even if a voiceprint is stolen, it can be detected as fraudulent with playback-detection technology.

Consumers Drive Biometrics into the Mainstream

Industries that tend to be more at the cutting edge, as well as government services, are proving the success of biometrics as a secure authentication method. In the financial industry, examples include HSBC using selfies and Citi using voice biometrics. Governments are also increasingly integrating biometrics into their travel and immigration processes.

Consumers are a major driver of this trend, as they see it as a convenient and fast verification method. A study by Visa in Europe found that two-thirds of consumers wanted to use biometrics for payments and three-quarters felt that two-factor authentication that included biometrics was a secure method.

The growing integration of biometric technology in everyday transactions is changing how customers want to interact with businesses. Organizations need to take advantage of these changes, and assess how they can integrate biometric authentication into data security.

The question becomes not whether to adopt the technology, but how to use it to best balance usability and security. Organizations will also need to make sure their security strategy is robust to keep that information secure.

As a recognized pioneer and leader in the industry, BIO-key has been developing cutting-edge biometric technology that has received top ranking by third-party testing companies. Contact us to discuss how we can help your enterprise benefit from biometric authentication practices in a dynamic data-security environment.

Scott Mahnken

VP Marketing