By: Tony Ridzyowski on January 2nd, 2019

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How Biometrics Will Transform Your Cybersecurity Strategy

Cybersecurity

Person using thumbprint to unlock mobile phoneBiometric authentication can pick up where passwords leave off — but only if organizations understand how this new technology will fit into their existing cybersecurity framework.

While the traditional password still has a role to play in today’s cybersecurity landscape, the evolving nature of online risk means that organizations will need to look to emerging technology if they hope to ward off the most advanced, pernicious threats — threats that may have cost the global economy over $600 billion last year. To that end, biometric authentication has emerged as a promising potential solution for enterprises that are serious about shoring up the safety of their data and devices.

Where biometric authentication was once prohibitively expensive and met with public skepticism, its incorporation into consumer-facing technologies such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops has powered its recent popularity. Indeed, research from IBM on the digital habits of younger generations shows that 75% of millennials are already comfortable using this technology to protect their information.

For security directors across a range of industries, an increasingly hostile digital ecosystem calls for investment in the most promising capabilities. While physical biometrics has entered the mainstream through fingerprint scanning and facial recognition, behavioral biometrics — or the authentication of users through the analysis of personal habits online and off — points toward an exciting next step in cybersecurity.

 

Understanding Biometric User Authentication

Currently, biometric authentication is split into two primary methods: physical and behavioral. With biometric authentication based on physical characteristics, devices create images or representations of features such as fingerprints, irises, faces, and veins, just to name a few. While the exact method of recording each feature varies from optical scanning to electronic mapping, the process typically results in a copy of that feature securely stored on the given device.

While biometric authentication tied to specific physical features works at the point of entry to a device, behavioral biometrics maintains a continuous level of background security. Behavioral biometrics solutions authenticate users based on work and personal habits. For example, software might monitor scrolling patterns, the speed with which users swipe on a touchscreen, or typing speed. For mobile devices, programs could tap into the onboard accelerometer and gyroscope to observe a user’s gait as they walk down the street.

 

Integrating Biometrics Into Cybersecurity Strategies

Recent advancements in biometric authentication technology have been nothing short of astounding. More than ever, security directors are viewing biometrics technology as a must-have for their organization’s data and device protection protocols. While authentication based on physical characteristics alone does have its potential disadvantages — studies have shown that digitally manipulated fake fingerprints created by bad actors can fool some biometrics scanners — behavioral biometrics represents an especially promising area for further research, investment, and eventually, integration into enterprise networks.

Behavioral biometric startup Acceptto offers a prime example of pioneering work that brings together the strengths of behavioral biometrics with the convenience of physical feature authentication. According to the company, their platform uses “a multi-context combination of behaviors, attributes and spatiotemporal velocity to detect and prevent identify access fraud across the enterprise and end consumers.”

By using physical features to authenticate at the point of entry to a device and background behavioral analysis to monitor for irregularities, this type of multi-contextual application demonstrates how organizations could feature behavioral biometrics into their broader cybersecurity strategy.

 

How TTI’s Cybersecurity Experts Can Help

For security directors on fixed budgets, choosing which technology to invest in is a major decision — especially given the challenging nature of today’s cybercriminal threats. With biometric authentication, it’s possible to better secure individual devices and key information by protecting the points of entry to your network and ensuring that user behavior is monitored in an unobtrusive way in order to identify irregularities without getting in the way of day-to-day workflows.

However, a cybersecurity strategy is only as strong as its weakest link. Implementing advanced biometric user authentication without addressing the cybersecurity needs of the rest of your network won’t stop cybercriminals from breaking into your network — it will just force them to use a different door. To actually capitalize on the benefits of these new biometric technologies, cybersecurity professionals will need to implement them into a robust cybersecurity framework capable of managing and securely storing authentication data — and handling scenarios in which user irregularities are in fact detected.

With nearly three decades of experience designing and implementing state-of-the-art network security solutions, Turn-key Technologies (TTI) is uniquely positioned to provide your enterprise with the cybersecurity assessment you need as you determine how biometric authentication should factor into your organization. Our team of experienced industry professionals can work with you to craft data protection strategies that fit within your needs and your budget, all without disrupting current productivity. If you’re interested in whether or not biometric authentication is right for your needs or if you’re ready to invest and need professional guidance to implement it correctly, our team is ready to help.

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