Businesses embracing biometric authentication, but transparency issues remain

Nearly 90 percent of businesses will use biometric authentication by 2020, though only 10 percent of IT professionals believe it should be used as the sole form, according to a new survey by Spiceworks.

Biometric authentication technology is already used by 62 percent of businesses, while 24 percent plan to add it within two years. Smartphones are the most common device used in this process, with 46 percent of organizations using fingerprint sensors and other biometrics on mobile devices, ahead of 25 percent using them on laptops, 22 percent on tablets, and 17 percent on time clock systems, mostly in manufacturing.

Fingerprints are the most common factor, used by 57 percent of organizations, while 14 percent use facial recognition. Hand geometry recognition is used by 5 percent, iris recognition by 3 percent, voice and palm vein recognition by 2 percent each.

Despite this growing popularity, some IT professionals are skeptical about aspects of biometric authentication. Almost two-thirds say they are is not enough transparency about vulnerabilities in biometric systems, and 63 percent say there is not enough transparency about the privacy of biometric data collected by vendors. More than half say biometrics are more difficult to hack than text-based passwords, but only 23 percent believe they will replace them in the next two to three years.

“Many IT professionals aren’t convinced biometrics can serve as a secure and reliable replacement for the standard username and password combo,” said Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks. “Unless technology vendors can address the security issues and privacy concerns associated with biometrics, the technology will likely be used side-by-side in the workplace with traditional passwords or as a secondary authentication factor for the foreseeable future.”

Among those using fingerprints, Apple Touch ID is the most commonly used, at 34 percent, followed by technology from Lenovo and Samsung at 13 percent each, Microsoft and Dell at 11 percent each, and HP at 9 percent. Scanning technologies from other fingerprint providers are used by 23 percent of those surveyed. Fourteen percent of organizations use Face ID, 13 percent use Windows Hello for facial recognition, and 7 percent use Android Face Unlock.

As biometrics providers attempt to find the right technology to satisfy enterprise needs, HYPR recently formed a partnership with Samsung Pass to provide decentralized biometric employee workstation log-in capabilities.

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