Jesper Frederiksen, UK GM of identity management provider Okta, predicting that biometrics will play an important role in security in the year ahead. Jesper’s predictions include:

  • Biometrics will help support commonly-used methods such as passwords and ID cards, and improve end-user experience in a simple and safe manner;
  • The adoption of facial recognition in the iPhone X will set a benchmark for biometric authentication in consumer devices and different industries such as airports;
  • Businesses will increasingly use and experiment with biometrics as an additional layer of security to regulate access and protect end-user identity

The password challenge

“The average individual has to remember anywhere between 25 and 150 passwords or codes, while 39 per cent say they use the same or similar passwords for many of their online accounts – thus making it easier for hackers to gain access to multiple accounts. It’s therefore no surprise that businesses are eager to improve security policies, so users aren’t relying on ‘what they know’ such as passwords or ‘what they have’ such as ID cards, and instead are utilising ‘what they are’ (biometrics) to authenticate. Managing credentials responsibly is nearly impossible unless security verification goes beyond a username and password. In the year ahead, biometrics will continue to provide a simple way for end-users to prove who they say they are, while enabling businesses to better protect their customers’ data and privacy.”

The rise of biometrics

“The introduction of facial recognition in the new iPhone X points to a shift in the very nature of authentication. Rather than signing onto a device with a passcode or touch ID, a user’s face will become their sign-on credential. We’re already seeing facial recognition technology used in airports — anyone who flies internationally in and out of Heathrow is familiar with the process — which is a great example of combining ‘something you have’ (a Passport) with ‘what you are’ (facial recognition). Even with early traction, you can still expect facial recognition and other forms of biometrics (such as voice recognition and iris scanning) to be met with initial scepticism. To those skeptics, I say it’s worth considering that it wasn’t too long ago that fingerprint scanning was considered too alien for most. A few years on, it’s now become a mainstay in consumer devices and applications. Whether fingerprints or faces, technology will continue to usher in new, improved pathways for authentication.” 

Biometrics supports the enterprise

“Within enterprise environments, biometrics will not completely replace passwords in the immediate future, but they will provide a supporting security layer as part of a multi-factor authentication model. The financial services sector, for example, has already experimented with biometrics for regulating access to certain services. Major banks have incorporated tools such as voice and fingerprint recognition as an additional security measure to ensure that only the correct party receives access, protecting against bad actors.

As businesses continue to digitally transform their customer experience, biometrics – no matter the shape they take – will have the opportunity to help end-users better manage and protect their own identities.”

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