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Welcome to biometrics

The active base of fingerprint reader-equipped devices is set to surpass one billion in early 2017, as stated by the audit firm Deloitte, highlighting the rate that end users are warming to biometrics as a means of authentication. According to a cyber security firm, Secure Cloudlink, organisations should follow this growing trend and incorporate biometrics to authenticate employees, to mitigate the security risks that come when using passwords.

According to forecasts from Deloitte, fingerprint technology will be collectively used trillions of times in 2017 as a means of authentication. For Dave Worrall, CTO at Secure Cloudlink, considering that passwords have evolved in what he terms an indefensible means of authentication, this move towards biometrics is a welcome step, he says, that should be embraced throughout organisations.

Dave Worrall says: “There’s clearly a desire for alternative forms of authentication. Fingerprint technology, for example, is gaining traction among end users due to the usability, efficiency and security benefits this technology presents. Trying to remember numerous passwords is often frustrating for employees, and this naturally leads to password sharing across a company. But this leaves businesses exposed to major security risks. Worryingly, if organisations are hit by a data breach, due to relaxed password procedures, it’s almost impossible for organisations to trace the cause of the fraudulent activity, which means the problem will continue to occur and the perpetrator might not ever be caught.

“However, a move towards biometrics will make it easier for organistions to determine exactly who is accessing a system or application, as this technology is unique to each individual. Biometric authentication creates accountability; every transaction or action is documented along with the individual associated with it. As a result, an accurate audit trail is created, which will naturally reduce the possibility of misuse, fraud and data leakage. The individual user also benefits as, unlike passwords, there is no way for them to forget their biometric credentials and this information is also practically impossible to forge.

“Ultimately, the concept of the password is simply not suitable for the complex digital age we all live in. Over the past year we’ve seen an inconceivable number of companies fall victim to data breaches. What’s more, 29 per cent of cybercrime is from stolen passwords and 1.5 billion passwords have been stolen to date. Now is the time for companies to get their houses in order as the real threat to CIOs and CTOs is not just how much a cyber breach is going to cost a business, but the cost of having to tell everyone. This is even more poignant now as the deadline for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) approaches. It’s vital that we rethink the entire concept of the password. The growing desire among individuals for biometrics will hopefully create a domino effect that will spill across all businesses so we can wave goodbye to passwords forever.”

Pictured: open air artwork, Minehead, Somerset.


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