The Impact of Biometric Technology on the Enterprise

Mobile technology has evolved hugely over the last few years. We’ve gone from using handsets that could only perform a few basic functions – such as calls and texts – to smartphones that can do pretty much anything.

They not only act as phones, but they also perform the function of media players, cameras, personal organizers, pagers and more. However, mobile phone manufacturers are now turning their sights to the world of security by capitalising on the power of biometric technology.

Fingerprint scanners have emerged as one of the most popular biometric technologies, with companies such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei implementing and pioneering the innovation. Handsets with biometrics offer users improved security and other useful features. We explore ways in which this tech is changing the mobile world.

The rise of biometrics

Biometry, if you’ve not come across the term before, is an area of statistical analysis concerned with biological data. The most common product of this is biometric authentication technologies, such as fingerprint and iris scanners.

Fingerprint technology is probably more relevant to the world of mobile. Although it’s been used in banks and other highly-secure environments for years, mobile companies are increasingly adopting the innovation to promote device and application security.

Adopting the technology into the mainstream

American tech giant Apple was one of the first companies to bring the technology into the mainstream. In 2012, it acquired fingerprint reading firm AuthenTec for $356 million. And in September 2013, Apple announced the iPhone 5S, the first handset to introduce ‘Touch ID’. The latter is Apple’s own fingerprint scanning technology, and now it’s a common feature on iPhones and iPads.

Companies such as HTC and Samsung have all followed in Apple’s footsteps, announcing handsets that are more security-oriented. The fact is, if you spend hundreds on a smartphone, you want to keep your personal data safe. Plus, unlike fiddly passwords and other unlock methods, fingerprint tech makes it easy for you to get into your handset.

biometric technology

How is Touch ID currently being used?

While fingerprint technology adds extra protection to handsets, there are plenty of other capabilities too. This innovation has become a key enabler in mobile technology. In the case of iPhones, you can now make purchases from the App Store without having to type in a password. Instead, you can scan your finger, which makes for ultimate ease-of-use.

Another popular feature on the iPhone is Apple Pay. Using the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, you’re able to pay for items quickly and wirelessly. As well as this, you don’t have to carry cards around with you, and there isn’t the threat of someone else using your card. Only your fingerprint will authenticate purchases.

And, with such examples in mind, users appear to be happy. According to Apple, iPhone users unlock their handsets 80 times a day, and 89% of them are using Touch ID. That’s clearly a big feat for the tech company, demonstrating it’s far from a gimmick. People are actually using the feature and are benefiting at the same time.

How has biometric technology impacted business?

It’s not just consumers who are benefiting from the advances in biometric technology. App developers and companies are also reaping the rewards. They’re using Touch ID to create safe and secure apps, solutions and business processes.

Big organizations often deal with masses of customer and internal information, but sometimes it can be impossible to protect it all. Cyber security infrastructure can be costly and time-consuming. By using fingerprint technology, they can stay ahead of hackers and other online criminals.

What business apps are using biometrics?

Sign Easy

There are plenty of business apps capitalising on the power of biometrics, too. Take, for example, the Sign Easy iPhone app. It allows you to use Touch ID to digitally sign important company and client documents. This means you don’t have to spend time and money on printing, scanning and sending them, resulting in improved efficiency.

1Password

Another useful app that supports Touch ID is 1Password, which is a digital vault where you can store all your precious passwords. Whereas before you had to have an additional password for the app, you now just need to scan your fingerprint. That introduces the notion that the password is dying. Biometrics offer better security, something that’s crucial to businesses.

And you can protect your work as well. It’s easy to lose your phone while traveling around the country for meetings and work, but you can’t risk people tampering with critical business documents. The outcome could be disastrous.

Evernote

You know have content-oriented apps like Evernote using TouchID as a way to protect documents and other resources from getting into the wrong hands.

What does the future hold for biometrics and Touch ID?

It would be impossible to deny that fingerprint scanning technology, as well as biometrics in general, is becoming a key enabler in the world of mobile technology. It’s already here, and most people are using it to keep their handsets protected and to speed up security processes within apps.

But the fact is, like any area of technology, it will evolve. Just look at the Internet of Things and how it’s set to dominate the world within the next decade. People believe that connected objects will be in the billions by then, and the same thing can be said about biometrics.

Here are three ways in which we see biometric technology impacting business in the next five years:

1. Increasing facilities security

In the future, as more companies invest more money in security, we could start to see employers replacing key cards with biometrics. When you arrive for work in the morning, you may have to scan your finger to get into the office, and at the same time, your attendance may be logged on the system.

2. Replacing digital fingerprinting

Many businesses are currently using “digital fingerprinting” to track users’ behavior across their websites without requiring them to create accounts or give away personal information.

This technology relies on identifying many different network measurements that are reliable individual device identifiers. It’s still an expensive and complex process, and can only track individual devices instead of individual people (most of us use several devices every day).

We can see biometrics replacing digital fingerprinting in the future. It would become a certain way for businesses to track user behavior and serve relevant content or advertising across devices and accounts.

3. Intranet security simplification

Biometrics has the potential to ease the burden of enterprise security access beyond the physical premises. Instead of passwords that require changing every 15 days and services timing out after one minute of inactivity, biometrics will make it easier for employees to use sensitive systems without minimal disruption to their experience.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the end of enforcing security through many complex means as hackers will always try to find ways around new security measures, but we expect biometrics will be one of the most secure methods of personal identification in any case.

Do you think biometrics will have a profound impact on enterprises in the near future?

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