Majority of Irish businesses see biometrics as answer to password problems

Majority of Irish businesses see biometrics as answer to password problems

Biometric verification would be welcomed by 62 percent of employees in Ireland, where poor security habits in both the public and private sector could lead to critical data and intellectual property loss, according to a survey from Microsoft and Amarach Research.

Amarach produced the report “Securing the future: The Cyber Security Climate in Ireland” after surveying 700 employees in Irish organizations with more than 100 staff, and found that poor password hygiene and minimal security training are common. Only 16 percent of employees have updated their passwords in the last 12 months to satisfy organizational policies, and 22 percent write down their passwords. Two out of five recycle work passwords, and slightly more employees recycle personal passwords.

Microsoft has reported that 81 percent of major data breaches last year were due to compromised employee identities, but a quarter of those surveyed used non-work USB drives with work devices, 12 percent connected back-up drives, and 5 percent connected a smartphone that does not belong to them, potentially putting their identity at risk. For employees working from home, practices such as using personal email accounts for work documents (49 percent) and accidentally sharing work data with family or friends (24 percent) are inviting risk.

“Organizations can invest in robust data protection and security measures, but their employees could, accidentally, bring about a potential security disaster for their organization,” says Microsoft Ireland Solutions Director Des Ryan. “The most common and least detected sources of data breaches are compromised identities. Passwords can be hacked, guessed, leaked or lost. New technologies like biometric security can deliver the robust security required to protect organisations from most social engineering attacks.”

The company suggests organizations use longer, more complex passwords, or consider using new forms of security such as Windows Hello’s biometric capabilities.

The survey also shows that only 54 of staff in large Irish organizations receive annual data security training.

Microsoft has launched a pair of new offerings, Identity & Threat Protection and Information Protection & Compliance, to help organizations protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats and meet regulations such as GDPR.

Synaptics and AMD partnered last year to bring fingerprint authentication to a line of notebooks using Microsoft’s forthcoming next-generation OS with native biometric security.

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