Whether you know it or not, biometric technology is a part of daily life in many parts of the world. If you use facial recognition verification on your phone or to gain access to a secured space, or place your finger on a mobile device to unlock the interface, you are experiencing biometric tech at work. In essence, it utilizes the uniqueness of your body's features as a means of authentication.
Biometric security through technology is a great and innovative idea that's impacting many of our security systems and safety measures, especially now that social distancing and the new norm are all very real concepts in our lives.
Here are a few things you should know about biometric tech that could come in handy if you intend to use it in your business or implement it in any shape or form.
It provides enhanced security
You may be familiar with basic forms of digital security like passwords and verification messages sent directly to your phone or email. However, these measures are sometimes not enough to protect your assets from malicious activities, especially since cyber-criminals are growing more advanced and intelligent by the day.
This is why biometric technology is considered a form of enhanced security, when combined with other authentication methods to form a very strong user authentication process. It relies on physiological identifiers or human traits to access control systems or unrestricted spaces (digital or physical). The fingerprint lock is a common biometric tech feature and is used for items ranging from phones to physical safe locks. They are more convenient and more secure than traditional deadbolts. On top of this, fingerprint locks can usually detect whether a door has closed and can automatically be locked after a few seconds, which means that you won't have to worry about leaving something unlocked by accident.
Most of the e-KYC (electronic know-your-customer) frameworks witnessed in the online ID verification process are also relying on facial verification to prevent unauthorized representation of identity or identity fraud.
Biometric tech isn't really a 'new' concept
Biometric technology is somewhat unique with regard to its point of origin in the technological timeline. It's simultaneously old and new. The first form of biometric tech could have been seen some 20 years ago and, even then, it functioned as a revolutionary alternative to traditional forms of verification like plastic ID cards or manual identification. 20 years is pretty long ago, however, at the same time, this technology might be considered relatively new because we're seeing improved and enhanced applications to this day. It has been a long time coming and can be a key part of a business’ digital strategy (particularly today).
It doesn't necessarily increase costs
One of the biggest arguments against biometric technology is to do with the costs incurred on individual businesses. This isn't necessarily a true or good argument, especially if you consider the many benefits related to the direct value that companies can obtain in the long run. Biometric devices have actually been known for minimising correlating costs like administration costs since there is no need to keep or update records in the form of long lists made up of names and passwords that are filled in manually.
Instead, biometric technology lets company systems collect, retain and utilize all the information necessary for authorisation, whether through the use of fingertip templates or facial templates.
It comes in many versatile forms
Since biometric tech relies on unique features of an individual's physiology, a variety of applications can be considered. The most common type of biometric application would be the fingerprint as the most visible and ubiquitous option in the list. It's a great way to reinforce your systems, devices or physical spaces via multi-factor authentication.
Aside from fingerprints, iris recognition (by which a person conducts an eye scan with infrared light to determine unique patterns in the iris) is also an option for biometric application, as well as facial recognition (since the face is arguably the most unique and distinguishable part of the human body used for identification).
Biometric tech doesn't actually use your image
One of the common concerns about biometric technology is that the image of the person being scanned could be stored and stolen by potential hackers. This isn't exactly right. In reality, biometric data does extract from the captured image for its initial step. However, the image itself isn't used for the authentication process. Original images of faces, fingerprints or eyes are removed and replaced with a mathematical version of the image that is a digital reference made up of unique characteristics.
This is called a biometric template. In this way, biometric features are stored and encoded via mathematical references. This method can also optimise and speed up the process of biometric search; imagine searching for 1 identified match from a pool of hundreds of thousands to millions.