CIOTechOutlook >> Magazine >> September - 2016 issue

Biometrics: Future of Authentication


As a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors London, (MRICS), Abhijit is responsible for the corporate real estate, administration, general services, facilities (soft and technical services), infrastructure, purchase and sourcing, health and safety, security, travel and MICE, etc, have been instrumental in writing handbooks, manuals process notes for most of the organizations. Abhijit is presently the country head-Corporate Real estate for ShareKhan.

The world today moves ahead with technological advancements every day. In this digital age where dependence on online businesses and marketing is growing, the security threats are also not much behind. In this field, Biometric technology has played a massive role in enhancing security, which is a step-up from the previous password protection or Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) methods. Mitigating the risk of a security breach and protecting customer data is one of many concerns that need to be addressed with innovative technological solutions and methods. Biometric authentication is one such solution to this problem. It uses technology that examines a human body’s characteristics like DNA, facial patterns, eye retina, and hand measurements for authentication processes. Such a process is quite secure as cloning a human’s DNA or facial patterns is a much harder task than cracking passwords. Precisely biometric traits are personal and unique; this is perhaps the most accurate way of identifying a person.

Below are the trends that will indicate how biometric technology is evolving to make authentication more convenient and secured:

1. Mobile Biometric Technology
Mobiles have been a major part of our lives. This year the number of mobile phone users has reached significant figure. According to Gartner, 30 percent of mobile devices will be using biometric authentication by 2016. Its due to increase in the number of mobile phone users, government and private institutions are converging to mobile biometrics to speed up the identification process. Mobile biometrics functions by achieving individual biometric identification on a mobile device with the portability to be easily moved or shifted from one place to another. This trend is rising also because of fact that biometrics cannot always be carried out in a closed location. Sometimes, biometric identifications go places where people go like stadiums, markets or simply public places and in such scenario mobile biometrics can be effective tool whereby playing important role in speeding up the identification process. Mobile biometrics is transforming how people access business and personal information. Also, to elaborate when you are thinking of mobile biometric technology, pairing that mobile biometric device with a cloud based biometric solution can speed up the identification process even more. Instead of saving the biometric data locally, sending it to the cloud is a safer & cost effective solution.

Below are some scenarios where mobile biometrics has changed the way humans are identified:

Banks and Financial Institutions
Biometric authentication seems to be an absolute must-have in the near future for banks, especially taking into consideration how mobile banking is getting popular. It seems to be a milestone when considering the future of mobile applications. Most of the financial institutions are increasingly implementing mobile biometric technology for customer identification in order to open an account or conduct and authorize a transaction. Mobile biometrics might just become common place throughout the world over the next few years to prevent criminals from fraudulently accessing
customer data.

2 Biometric Single Sign on (SSO)
Many companies are adopting biometric single sign on (SSO) over traditional passwords to secure their networks from data breaches, to minimize password management costs. Secure authentication achieves higher accuracy, easy to use and cost effective. In fact, the use of biometrics is an alternative to passwords. As passwords are weak! They are weak because of multiple reasons: they can be guessed, forgotten, shared or swapped. Conversely, biometrics is unique, hard to spoof, and you cannot lose or share them. In some cases where employees must log into multiple databases and have different passwords for each of them, it can be very frustrating. Biometrics identifies individuals by “who they are” which eliminates the need of remembering passwords. Biometrics can also provide instant access to information at any place, wherever and whenever you need. In addition, biometrics is unique for every individual and prevents unauthorized access from others who may have the means to
steal passwords.

As the technology world is evolving there are more and more trends and demand in the field of identity management. All these trends and demands are generated from one basic need – the need for a more accurate and secure way of identifying an individual. Biometric identification methods are automated and offer very fast, authentic & secured identification recognition. The way things are moving, this system seems just the right one to follow. However, the hackers are also showing innovations in their fields, how the security firms encounter them is to be seen in the future.