What is biometrics? And why collecting biometric data is risky

Biometric authentication uses physical or behavioral human characteristics to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices or data. Examples of these biometric identifiers are fingerprints, facial patterns, voice or typing cadence. Each of these identifiers is considered unique to the individual, and they may be used in combination to ensure greater accuracy of identification.

Because biometrics can provide a reasonable level of confidence in authenticating a person with less friction for the user, it has the potential to dramatically improve enterprise security. Computers and devices can unlock automatically when they detect the fingerprints of an approved user. Server room doors can swing open when they recognize the faces of trusted system administrators. Help desk systems might automatically pull up all relevant information when they recognize an employee’s voice on the support line.

According to a recent Ping Identity survey, 92 percent of enterprises rank biometric authentication as an “effective” or “very effective” to secure identity data stored on premises, and 86 percent say it is effective for protecting data stored in a public cloud. Another survey, released last year by Spiceworks, reports that 62 percent of companies are already using biometric authentication, and another 24 percent plan to deploy it within the next two years.

Read full article at CSO magazine.