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Rate of biometric authentications growing globally

Categories Access Control  |  Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes
Rate of biometric authentications growing globally

Biometric authentication in organizations across the global economy is increasing markedly, and that growth is good indication that security managers are open to passwordlessness, according to a new vendor report.

Duo Security, a subsidiary of network infrastructure giant Cisco, published the ‘2021 Duo Trusted Access Report’ — focused on multi-factor authentication and passwordless security trends around the world.

The use of biometrics for authentications, according to Cisco, rose 48 percent comparing 2021 to 2020 figures. The periods compared in the report were June 2020 to May 2021 (considered 2021) and June 2019 to May 2020 (considered 2020).

Other passwordless techniques being used by governments and the private sector included PINs, smart cards and keys.

According to the report, the growth in biometrics in particular as an authentication method is the result of organizations wanting to lower the friction people face in accessing resources and facilities.

Growing acceptance of biometrics means security managers are less likely to dismiss out of hand non-traditional authentication methods, according to Cisco.

Indeed, concerns have turned practical. Biometric data storage is the second-most cited worry that respondents to Cisco’s survey reported.

Thirty-five percent cited storage; 37 percent cited security compared to using passwords with multi-factor authentication. (Twenty-eight percent cited hardware cost.)

The market for biometrics-enabled devices is far out ahead of the organizations. The report notes that 71 percent of mobile phones support biometric authentication. The number of phones globally supporting biometric authentication grew 12 percent over the survey period.

Overall, education organizations were most open to biometric use as a second authentication factor. There were 1.8 million biometric authentications in school settings in 2021. Biometrics-as-a-second-factor authentications in education grew 770 percent, comparing 2021 to 2020.

Financial services saw biometrics grow the fastest: 1,100 percent during the survey period, reaching 85,000 authentications. HID Global is banking on this trend.

Health care, typically considered a laggard when it comes to information technology, saw biometric authentications rise 580 percent, reaching 13,000.

Last year’s report showed a move away from SMS authentication giving a lift to biometrics adoption.

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