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Security is a top concern for all business owners for varying purposes, including the protection of trade secrets and customer data especially as hackers learn new ways to defeat security measures. In the US, including the North America region, the adoption rate of biometric authentication by businesses was 62% in 2018 and was projected to increase to nearly 90% in the space of two years (2020). Below, is an overview of what biometric authentication is, how commonplace it is in US business space and banks, some use cases and its benefits for businesses.

Definition

  • Biometrics is a fast and reliable method of identifying, verifying, and authenticating individuals through recognizable and verifiable data that is based on the unique, biological characteristics of the individual.
  • According to Gartner, “biometric authentication methods use biometric characteristics or traits to verify users’ claimed identities when users access endpoint devices, networks, networked applications or web applications. Across a wide range of use cases, any biometric authentication method may be used in one-to-one comparison mode (when the user enters a user ID), or one-to-many search mode (when the user simply presents his or her biometric characteristic, with no explicit claim of identity, and the system determines his or her user ID from a range of candidates).”
  • According to Thales, a global high technology leader in ‘deep tech’ such as cybersecurity, Biometric authentication, based on the above, will then involve the data comparison of the individual’s characteristics to his/her biometric ‘template’ to determine resemblance, thereby authenticating that person’s identity.
  • To achieve this, “the reference model is first stored; then, the data stored is then compared to the person’s biometric data to be authenticated.”
  • The data can be collected from morphological identifiers, such as fingerprints, or biological identifiers, such as DNA and blood.

Adoption and Penetration

  • Biometrics is becoming more commonplace and popular for use in smaller companies and companies who maintain customer login accounts, as small businesses continue to adjust to an ever-demanding technology landscape, with diverse uses ranging from verifying payment information or authenticating employees clocking in and out for work.
  • To corroborate the above, NuWire Investor disclosed that “biometrics has been available to small businesses to add a layer of security for more than a decade.”
  • According to CNN, “more companies are ditching passwords and using fingerprints and other biometrics to stop hackers,” as employees are increasingly employing biometrics authentication to phones, computers, and clouds.
  • “Spiceworks, a professional network for people in the IT industry, says nearly 90% of businesses will use biometric authentication by 2020, up from 62% in 2018. Fingerprint scanning is currently the most common type of biometric authentication in the workplace: 57% of organizations use it. Far fewer, just 14%, use facial recognition.”
  • For this, smartphones were the most commonly used platform for biometric authentication in the workplace (businesses) – 46% of survey respondents said that their company currently used smartphones for this purpose. This was followed by laptops (25%), tablets (22%), and time clock systems (17%).
  • Furthermore, “banks and the financial services industry are most interested in behavioral biometric technology.

Examples and Use Cases

  • For small businesses, “the biggest application has been security for sensitive areas, whether it is limiting who can access the cash safe to controlling access to server rooms.”
  • Ever AI is a facial recognition company that partners with businesses to implement practical facial recognition solutions. Companies can install cameras in the ceiling of building lobbies that read the faces of workers as they walk through to their offices.”
  • Behavioral biometric technologies run in the background to build a ‘behavior profile’ of a user, and learns activities like how someone holds the phone, whether they type with one or two hands, and how they scroll or toggle between screens.”
  • Banks are using this tech, such as fingerprint and facial recognition, to authenticate account login or for ID verification. Barclays uses finger vein reader technology; Bank of America uses fingerprint authentication, iris-scanning, and app linking; citi uses voice authentication, and Wells Fargo uses eyeprint authentication.

Benefits

  • Some business benefits of using biometric authentication include accessibility, support for multiple verticals, higher security, operational efficiency, and frictionless user experience.
  • According to Jumio, “biometric authentication enables online businesses to reliably authenticate users for regular logins, high-risk transactions and for a variety of emerging use cases. And most importantly, it helps nullify the risk of ATO (Authorization to Operate) since it does not rely on a username and password, which could have easily been stolen.”
  • Furthermore, other benefits include identity assurance, ease of use, and fraud detection.
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