For several years now – at the very least – virtually every organization around the world has been grappling with digitization, as information technology has swept every sector from finance to government to manufacturing. Digitization has delivered many benefits, and has also brought new challenges, particularly when it comes to matters of security. And on that front, sophisticated new biometric technologies have played an increasingly important role.
This trend is very much ongoing, and that’s why this March is Enterprise Biometrics Month at FindBiometrics. With dedicated content including feature articles and podcast interviews, we’re going to deliver breaking news and insightful analysis about how biometric technology is being integrated into the enterprise.
Passwords Get the Gold Watch
The most obvious area in which biometric technology is having an impact in enterprise security is in replacing the password. When the broader digitization trend first set in, passwords were a logical answer to the question of how to keep data secure. Previously, a single administrator might have been entrusted with the key to a filing cabinet; now, the administrator would be entrusted with a password that likewise would be withheld from all unauthorized users. But it has always been the case that, like keys, passwords could be stolen. They can also be guessed, when they’re too weak; and when they’re too strong, they can be hard to remember. This has led to all kinds of issues as digital security threats have intensified, from data breaches due to weak credentials to burdensome administrative costs stemming from employees forgetting their passwords, or losing the notes on which they may have written them.
Biometrics offer a clear solution; by turning an individual’s fingerprint, face, or other biometric into the credential used to access data, the problem of losing or forgetting passwords is eliminated. And a growing number of organizations are starting to recognize the advantages of this approach. A 2018 Spiceworks poll of nearly 500 IT professionals found 62 percent reporting that their organization had implemented biometric authentication, and an SC Magazine report from last summer validated the trend in an assessment of reports from biometrics experts at Duo Security, Frost & Sullivan, IDEX Biometrics, and Kaspersky Labs.
Biometrics Get Promoted
Meanwhile, new enterprise-focused solutions continue to emerge. In December, LogMeIn announced a new version of its hugely popular LastPass password manager solution specifically for enterprise accounts; and last month, Idaptive announced that its Next-Gen Access platform would support the FIDO Alliance’s WebAuthn standards, which means that employees using the system at work can biometrically authenticate through widely available consumer-facing systems like Windows Hello and Touch ID.
Beyond simply replacing password-based access in the workplace, solutions are emerging to target more specific enterprise issues such as the aforementioned problem of lost credentials. Toward the end of last year, for example, Evident ID announced a new solution leveraging biometrics to automate account recovery. The system is designed to use facial recognition and document reading to identify employees during the account recovery process, potentially helping to substantially reduce IT costs for large organizations.
These are just a few of the more recent examples of how biometrics are starting to replace passwords in the workplace. And while employers see the advantages in terms of reduced IT costs and stronger security, employees also appear to be warming up to the convenience of biometric authentication, with 70 percent of respondents in a Veridium survey last year suggesting that they would like to see biometric authentication used more often at work.
Meanwhile, biometrics are doing much more in the enterprise than just replacing the passwords that employees use to access files. Stay tuned to FindBiometrics as Enterprise Biometrics Month delivers more in-depth features in the weeks to come to learn more.