Despite False Positives, Biometrics Ranks as a Top Authentication Tool

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Despite False Positives, Biometrics Ranks as a Top Authentication Tool

Biometrics products now rank behind only security tokens as a most trusted way to authenticate employees/users for access to enterprise devices, according to a recent survey from Spiceworks. As a significant share of organizations seek to boost authentication for smartphones and laptops, fingerprint scans remain the most popular biometrics approach. There are, however, serious security-related concerns about this technology, including the potential for false positives, stolen data and an overall lack of standardization among product makers. Product costs also present barriers to adoption. More than 490 IT professionals took part in the research. The following slide show presents survey highlights, with charts provided courtesy of Spiceworks.

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Biometrics Lags Only Tokens for Security Confidence

Spiceworks reports that 83 percent of survey respondents feel that security tokens are the most secure form of authentication. Biometric authentication, however, follows closely behind, at 74 percent.

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False Positives Prompt Concerns

Despite the relatively high degree of confidence in biometric authentication as a security option, there are reservations, as 64 percent of survey respondents have concerns about the risks of false positives in deploying it. In addition, 57 percent cite the potential for identifiers being compromised or replicated.

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IT Pros Seek Greater Standardization

One-half of survey respondents said they are concerned about an overall lack of standards in biometrics authentication products. Nearly that many—48 percent—said they are concerned about the risks of stolen biometrics data.

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Organizations Favor Fingerprint Scans

Fingerprint scanning dominates all forms of biometric authentication, as utilized by 57 percent of businesses. In contrast, only 14 percent use facial recognition and just 5 percent use hand geometry recognition.

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Smartphones and Laptops Dominate Deployments

Just over one-half of organizations use biometric authentication for smartphones, or plan to do so within two years. Laptops are the second most-likely devices for which companies deploy biometric authentication or plan to do so within two years, at 35 percent.

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Apple Touch ID Leads in Hand/Fingerprint Scanning Tech

When it comes to investing in hand/fingerprint scanning technology, 34 percent of companies use Apple Touch ID. Lenovo’s and Samsung’s products ranked second, at 13 percent.

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Apple and Microsoft Vie for Top Share of Face/Iris Recognition Market

Apple holds a slight lead in face/iris recognition technology, with 14 percent of organizations using Face ID. Windows Hello ranks as a close No. 2, with 13 percent of businesses using it.

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Tech Costs and Reliability Issues Create Biggest Barriers

Two-thirds of survey respondents said the cost of technology represents a top barrier to adopting biometrics authentication. Nearly three of five cite reliability concerns.

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IT Often Struggles With System Upgrades

System upgrade requirements also pose significant barriers to adopting biometric authentication, as cited by 47 percent of survey respondents. In addition, 42 percent cite difficulties in storing and managing biometric data.

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More Transparency Sought From Vendors

Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said they do not receive enough information from vendors about security vulnerabilities in their biometrics products. Nearly as many—63 percent—said they’d like to know more from vendors about the privacy of biometric data collected by them.

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Consumer Breaches Are Influencing Enterprise Security Policies

Gemalto's Identity and Access Management Index 2018 report reveals the intersection of consumer and enterprise authentication.
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