Tag Archives: biometrics

When You Should Switch To Biometrics For Data Protection

Once the territory of sci-fi films and fiction, these days, biometrics are a part of everyday technology. This kind of smart technology is all about using sophisticated means to identify an individual. This is especially relevant for data protection within companies, as it can assist to prevent the loss of data by more effectively assigning highly classified data to a specific individual. This individual can then only access the data using biological characteristics unique to them. What we’ll outline today is what exactly biometrics is, how it works, and when it is relevant to assist with data loss protection, particularly for small businesses.

What is biometrics?
Biometric verification is the use of biological traits to verify an individual’s identity. These traits can be both visible and invisible to the eye. Traits that are visible include things such as a fingerprint, retina or iris size, earlobe shape, and even things such as a person’s posture or the way they carry themselves. Less visible traits include things such as a heartbeat, voice waves, and DNA.

How does it apply to data protection?
Particularly with the advent of cloud-based computing and remote working, biometrics can assist with ensuring that end-point devices stay secure. Mobile devices, such as laptops and phones, are often the culprits from which data is lost from internal sources, either by accident or through malicious intent.

Biometric verification ensures that sensitive information can only be accessed by individuals of your choosing. This instills a greater sense of responsibility in those individuals to safeguard classified information, and also creates a disincentive to releasing the data maliciously. If the files are only handled by a certain number of people who can be biologically identified and therefore caught, it’s much less likely that they would release that data intentionally.

When should you apply it?
Biometrics already exist in many mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops. This means that generalized biometric technology can be implemented across the board by making smart decisions when upgrading these items as part of your business inventory. By integrating standardized biometrics as part of your data loss protection strategy, you can help to protect data loss, particularly from those who work remotely, but also across the board.

Most companies will have a series of files that are highly classified. Whether these contain sensitive personal information, or if they’re the company’s intellectual property, it is imperative to create much stronger incentives and disincentives against the accidental and malicious release of these files. A good way of beginning to integrate biometrics verification is to start with these files only. Unless you’re a large multinational, it’s unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to fully integrate highly sophisticated technology across the board. Instead, focus on ensuring that that technology goes towards protecting that highly sensitive information that only some individuals have access to.

It’s clear that the days of the password as the only method for authentication and verification are numbered. In order to help ensure full protection against data loss, particularly internal threats, integrating biometric technology is the way of the future. If you’re an SMB or SME, the best way to think about biometric integration is by directing the resource and budget you have put aside for it towards protecting the files that are most highly sensitive, or would have the most negative impact if they were internally released. That way, you can start to test methods of using the technology that work for when the technology becomes cheaper and easier to implement across the board.

 

Why Biometrics Should be Used?

Biometrics is a way of making sure that the user is who he or she claims to be, thus eliminating unauthorized access to information and safeguarding it from internal threats. With data breaches becoming more complicated and impacting all sectors, organizations are gradually complementing traditional authentication techniques, especially passwords, with biometric technology. To fully understand the potential that biometrics offers towards enhancing data security, let us first understand what biometric identifies are, how they can be deployed and advantages that the technology offers.

Biometric Identifiers

The term “Biometrics” is coined with two words “bio” and “metric” meaning life and measure respectively. The underlying meaning is that every human is unique and can be recognized/ identified by his or her intrinsic physical or behavioral traits.

Fingerprints, face, retina, voice, ear features, typing rhythm, gait and gestures constitute as biometric identifiers. For security, a single or a composition of multiple identifiers can be used. Research and development is actively underway to encompass brainwave signals, electronic tattoos and microchips under biometric identifiers.

Biometrics Deployment

Fingerprint scanners, face recognition software and biometric hand reader are some of the platforms that are based on biometric technologies. Adoption of biometrics at various access points and endpoints is greatly beneficial in preventing unauthorized access and hence data loss either accidently or on purpose.

A study by ABI Research states that consumer and enterprise spending on biometrics is growing at a rate of 29% per year, with market size expected to reach $36.8 billion by 2020. Retail and banking sectors are leading in the adoption of biometric technologies because of the sheer volume of sensitive data they process.

Biometrics Advantages

While biometrics is gradually becoming a part of our daily lives – common examples being checks at international airports and fingerprint recognition on mobile devices – a number of organizations are yet to fully realize the capability that the technology offers. There are many advantages of deploying biometric technologies. These are:

  • Biometrics are extremely accurate, though not 100%, as the identifiers are unique to each user.
  • While passwords can be replicated making the system vulnerable to unauthorized users, biometric identifiers are difficult to break and thus offer very reliable data security mechanism.
  • Automated biometric verification is a very quick process.
  • Biometrics do not require multi-layer authentication. They are user friendly and lift up the burden from the user to remember various complex passwords. This saves time without compromising the security of sensitive data.

Conclusion

Organizations can enhance traditional authentication methods that they use by introducing biometrics – an additional security layer that answers “Who I am”. While barriers to adoption remain high, mainly being cost and privacy, the number of real-word applications for biometrics has been increasing. It remains to be seen if biometrics will emerge as the answer to most data theft problems or if it will only continue to act as an additional assurance to prevent data loss.