Biometrics: The Secure, Reliable Alternative to Passwords

In the previous post, we discussed how identity management makes your network more secure. The need for identity management is driven by the change in the network perimeter from the four walls of a building to mobile devices and the cloud. By consolidating authentication and authorization platforms and processes, organizations simplify a critical component of IT security and improve the user experience.

Passwords are the traditional means of authentication, but passwords alone are no longer enough. Too many users are careless with their passwords, using passwords that are easy to figure out for multiple accounts. Default passwords are left unchanged. Even strong passwords can be stolen, and users can be tricked into handing them over to hackers.

Many organizations are implementing multifactor authentication, which requires a user to provide credentials from two or more independent categories (what they know, what they have, and what they are) to verify the user’s identity. More specifically, organizations are turning to biometrics (what they are) to overcome the limitations of passwords and limit unauthorized network access.

Biometrics uses a person’s unique physical and behavioral characteristics to accurately identify and authenticate legitimate users. Physical characteristics include facial recognition, voice recognition, fingerprints and retina scanning. Behavioral characteristics include keystroke and mouse usage patterns, mobile device usage patterns, and analysis of walking gait and other gestures. This biometric data is used to create a profile for each authorized user.

The most obvious benefit in the enterprise is that these identifiers are extremely difficult to duplicate. This dramatically reduces the risk of data breaches and fraud caused by stolen credentials. If hackers come up with ways to spoof certain characteristics, there are always more physical and behavioral traits to use, individually and collectively.

Unlike passwords, users don’t have to remember, organize and update their biometric characteristics, which eliminates perhaps the weakest link in the security chain – human responsibility. This also relieves individual users of a longstanding security burden and headache.

In the criminal justice system, law enforcement uses biometrics to digitally capture fingerprints, quickly book criminals, and positively identify and monitor prisoners and detainees. Court organizations can quickly perform criminal history searches and implement best practices that eliminate data-related inefficiencies involving identity verification and arrest event information.

Biometrics technology is used in retail and hospitality to control access to point-of-sale (POS) systems and reduce theft. Every transaction is tied to a specific user to increase accountability and prevent fraud, and managers can easily track time and attendance for hourly employees without managing keys, swipe cards and PINs. Biometrics also helps satisfy Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance requirements.

Crossmatch offers a number of biometric identity solutions that provide the necessary performance and reliability to overcome identity management challenges. Crossmatch offers a suite of stationary and mobile “livescan” devices that are capable of capturing palm prints, single fingerprints, two fingerprints or all 10 fingerprints. While these versatile devices can be deployed in a number of business settings, Crossmatch provides purpose-built solutions for criminal booking, court and corrections environments, as well as POS environments in retail and hospitality.

Biometrics are far more reliable, secure and manageable than passwords, which have become inadequate for identity verification. Let us show you how biometrics solutions from Crossmatch prevent security breaches, reduce theft and fraud, and create a safer work environment.