Authenticating individual users for security purposes within organizations has never been more important to enterprises across all sectors. These days, it’s not only banks and law enforcement offices that have to think about better means of authentication, but also educational institutions, small businesses and online retailers, among many others.

“The heightened threat atmosphere of today is demanding greater security measures across the board.”

The heightened threat atmosphere of today is demanding greater security measures across the board, and that is leading companies to pursue new and evolving means of protection. Increasingly, biometric authentication solutions are becoming part of the answer to the growing threats facing enterprise infrastructures.

One of the things that makes biometric authentication so effective and appealing to a broad user base is its simplicity: The technology is built around the idea of verifying identity using unique biological traits. Chiefly, this takes the form of fingerprint-based authentication, but biometric technology can also encompass things like retina scans, finger vein IDs and voice identification.

The business move toward biometric-based security

As many corporate breaches have illustrated – and continue to show – traditional passwords are no match for hackers who are adept at breaking into password databases and stealing privileged login credentials. For many enterprises out there, the inherent vulnerability of legacy authentication solutions is fueling a push toward biometric authentication, which is seen as a technology that is more uniquely suited than passwords to match today’s cyber threat atmosphere.

“The concept of using unique biological characteristics as an authoritative stamp dates back at least 31,000 years.”

The concept of using unique biological characteristics as an authoritative stamp dates back at least 31,000 years, to the first evidence of prehistoric men leaving handprints as signatures next to their cave paintings. It wasn’t until 1858, however, that the world’s first system of using hand images for identification was leveraged by a Civil Service leader who wanted a formal system of distinguishing people legitimately in his employ versus imposters. By 1903, prisons in New York were harnessing fingerprints to keep track of offenders. And by the 1960s, biometrics had branched out to encompass rudimentary versions of face and signature recognition.

But it’s only been in relatively recent years that biometric technology has undergone an evolution into a mainstream means of identification and authentication. This is perhaps most visibly highlighted by the CIA’s use of facial recognition technology, combined with DNA, to verify the identity of the body of Osama bin Laden.

These days, biometrics represents the future of authentication. As a sector, the biometrics system market is projected to reach a value of $24.44 billion by 2020, according to MarketsandMarkets. The significance of that statistic prompts the question: What will biometric authentication look like by 2020? Here are some ideas:

  • It will be the primary means of banking identity verification: Fewer enterprise sectors carry a greater responsibility when it comes to identity guarding than banks. Financial institutions guard some of the most privileged data out there, and therefore must be at the forefront of authentication technology. It’s significant, then, that by 2020 biometrics will be the primary means of identity authentication leveraged by banking patrons, according to a Goode Intelligence report.”There is a growing desire from the banking industry to adopt convenient methods to verify the identity of their customers and this is creating the conditions to drive the adoption of biometrics in banking even higher,” Goode Intelligence founder Alan Goode said. “The adoption for banking purposes is a major contributor to this growth.” With banks projected to flock to biometrics in big numbers, it’s very likely that this move will set a precedent for identity security among other enterprise sectors, which helps to explain why the biometrics sector is anticipated to attain such a large value by 2020.
  • It will encompass developing means of identity vetting: When most people think of biometrics, fingerprint scanning is the first thing to come to mind. But by 2020, other means of biological characteristics-based verification will likely be the norm as well. According to FCW, traditional biometrics methods like fingerprint and iris scanning will be joined by evolving methods like measuring respiration and pulse as well as cognitive vetting, such as evaluating reactions to certain stimuli. These methods may prove even more effective than the current ones, but they also bring up important privacy questions that will need to be considered.

As a leader in the field of biometric authentication, Entrust provides all business sectors with cutting-edge biometric technology that allows users to guard networks with the most robust tools out there. That technology comes in the form of Entrust IdentityGuard Biometrics, a solution that leverages fingerprint-based authentication to secure access to privileged networks. IdentityGuard Biometrics is designed to guard sensitive information with one of the most powerful authentication mechanisms on the market. It’s the kind of solution that’s built to handle the security needs of the present and the future.