This September, FindBiometrics has been putting the spotlight on Digital Transformation in the Enterprise, with last week’s feature delving into the evolution of physical access control. In 2020, the effects of COVID-19 can’t go unmentioned, with the pandemic having accelerated trends in the realm of physical access. It will turn out to be an important factor in logical access control as well – a critical area in the age of remote work.
The Password Proliferation
In the early days of the modern enterprise, files and other sensitive assets were kept secure under lock and key. Then came the digital revolution that brought computers to offices all over the world, and quickly brought those offices online. Now organizations were keeping digital files, and password-based security became the norm.
It wasn’t long before hackers started making a name for themselves, and data breaches started becoming a big problem. Huge, high-profile data breaches like the one Yahoo disclosed in 2016 helped to raise alarm about the issue, but that didn’t stop the trend: whereas a Gemalto analysis found that 2.6 billion records had been compromised through data breaches in 2017 on a global scale, this year ForgeRock said that data breaches had compromised 5 billion records in 2019 in the US alone. That amounts to $1.2 trillion in associated losses.
This has all helped to illustrate the fact that password-based security is no longer sufficient. Fortunately, a growing number of organizations are starting to implement enhanced security options, with biometric authentication seeing heightened interest.
New Solutions for a New Enterprise
A number of security solutions have emerged in recent years with enterprise applications. There is a growing recognition of the value of second-factor authentication – the use of an additional authentication mechanism on top of a password, such as a security key that can be plugged into a USB port. There are also password manager apps aimed at combating weak password practices by generating extremely complex passwords and storing them under one master password.
Biometric technologies, meanwhile, offer certain unique advantages beyond these mechanisms. Every employee has biometrics, and they never forget these credentials at home or lose them. Everyone’s biometrics are unique, and most biometrics are very difficult to copy, especially in light of advancements in imaging and ‘presentation attack detection’ technologies that are designed to spot fake biometric credentials.
In the enterprise, this all means that biometric authentication can reduce or even eliminate help desk requests and other administrative burdens caused by password issues, and can significantly boost security to the point of virtually eliminating the possibility of hack attacks and server breaches. That’s why a growing number of organizations have been implementing biometric authentication systems in recent years, and why biometric authentication is even finding its way into 2FA security keys and password manager apps.
For many IT security experts, this adoption of post-password security mechanisms has been an important effort for years. But now, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become an especially urgent matter.
Organizations around the world have had to shift quickly into digital channels and remote work setups in order to accommodate pandemic lockdown measures and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. And this, in turn, has opened up new opportunities for hackers and fraudsters to look for vulnerabilities in corporate IT networks and other assets.
Fortunately, a number of enterprise-focused biometric solutions were already available before the pandemic hit, and many more have been rushing into the market, including solutions from existing biometrics experts that have been tailored specifically for the COVID age. Businesses can automatically scan for signs of online fraud with behavioral biometrics; they can monitor remote workers and authenticate them with facial recognition; and they can even use remote identity verification platforms in online-only hiring processes.
These are just some of the solutions available to help organizations refine their security amid the rapid Digital Transformation in the Enterprise during the COVID-19 pandemic. And as employees head back into physical facilities secured by biometrics experts like BioConnect, IDEMIA, and Iris ID, many IT security experts will be gratified to see that their new and enhanced logical access control systems will remain in place as organizations recognize their benefits in security and efficiency.
September 24, 2020 – by Alex Perala