June 4th, 2018

Biometrics Offer Attractive Solution to Businesses Cloud Security Concerns

As businesses continue to migrate their operations to cloud services platforms and prepare for a future where employees connected devices can store as well as transmit sensitive data cloud security and access control are imperative.

Moreover, while business leaders look forward to convenience and cost savings of using cloud services, they've been approaching the digitalization of processes using cloud technology with a certain degree of trepidation. Topping their list of concerns is cloud security, a new report from analysts Frost & Sullivan said.

With volumes of information stored in a cloud database—and exponentially more to be generated by businesses in the coming years— the use of biometrics and multi-factor authentication for identity and access management will be an “absolute game-changer” for enterprises, the report said.

Layers of Complexity

The rollout of IoT technologies and cloud solutions brings a range of challenges for businesses, including integration with legacy systems, mounting costs, and control of new digital systems. Any new solution that brings with it another layer of complexity is one likely to get left by the wayside, as company leaders need technologies to simplify their transition to the cloud-based and the IoT-enabled.

This is especially true as businesses evaluate technologies that help with their top concern: securing their assets and data. If the technology in question adds complexity by relying on passwords, it’s likely to get ditched in favor of something that provides a better user experience.

With more work being done on mobile devices and a growing number of connected devices finding their way into the workplace, it is becoming quite a lot less feasible to require the memorization of complex passwords that include upper and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers put together randomly.

Some connected devices have limited keyboards or no keyboard at all, and security best practices dictate that as the number and variety of devices proliferate, so do the number of passwords it takes to keep them secure.

One of the most significant security gaps for any organization is employees who fail to follow protocols. Adding complexity means more workers will feel overwhelmed and frustrated and will use shortcuts that put the organization at risk.

Real Security?

Hackers, data thieves, and other malicious actors have become more adept at creating algorithms that can try millions of number-and-letter combinations per second to land on the right password. That’s one of the reasons, so many breaches and hacks make the headlines.

Password-based security has remained static in regard to device authentication while attack techniques continuously evolve. The problem is severe enough today, but it will only get worse as the number of devices proliferates.

Leading minds in technology and business have long been saying that the password is on its way out, or at the very least will be relegated to being just one of the methods of securing assets and networks using multi-factor authenticaion.

The rollout of IoT technologies and the increasing use of mobile devices is just speeding up the inevitable.

Securing a complex organization

biometric authentication

Securing a large organization that operates networks and databases—and employs a workforce with varying degrees of permission to access them—is a tall order. That’s why businesses today are opting for multiple security measures to handle different scenarios.

To get a sense of what security method among the many options is the most flexible and scalable, it is helpful to look at how one of the most populous countries on Earth—India, with more than 1.3 billion people—secures its population’s most sensitive data.

India’s Aadhar Identity Program uses biometrics to authenticate up to a billion users who are filing taxes, opening new bank accounts, authenticating loans and conducting other pressing business. Ninety-two percent of the country’s population is using the system, which was initially designed to handle welfare payments and specific medical services.

So trusted is the system that it handles 100 million authentications per day, and has been deemed by the Indian government to be “100-percent secure.”

Other countries are watching India closely, and considering a biometric system to authenticate large populations of people and secure some of the most sensitive data.

Biometric security is the future of business

Biometric authentication is widespread among U.S. consumers, who have been using fingerprint identification to unlock their smartphones for several years now. Companies have been taking note of this, and a growing number are following the lead of phone makers like Apple and Samsung.

However, convenience is only one of the advantages of a biometric identification. Another is enhanced security, as algorithms cannot hack a fingerprint or iris the way they can a combination of numbers and letters.

Business leaders should also be looking at India and noting the satisfaction of government leaders when they talk about the system they use to authenticate persons.

As businesses continue their migration to the cloud, they are right to be concerned about securing their most valuable data.

However, they should understand that biometrics and fingerprint authentication - which offers a far better user experience alongside improved security by way of two factor authentication — can provide them not just protection from intruders, but also peace of mind.

Mike DePasquale

Chairman & CEO