In the age of the digital world, security remains essential. Many organizations have set up rules in place to prevent weak and familiar passwords from being in use. However, these policies do not address password fatigue. A recent study sponsored by Yubico and conducted by Ponemon Institute concluded that despite the increasing concern regarding privacy and protection online, individuals and businesses are still falling short:  

  • 50% of IT respondents and 39% of individual users reuse passwords across workplace accounts 
  • 59% of IT security respondents report that their organization relies on human memory to manage passwords  
  • 56% of individuals will only adopt new technologies that are easy to use and significantly improve account security  

Additionally, according to the report, respondents spend an average of 12.6 minutes each week or 10.9 hours per year entering and/or resetting passwords. This results in a productivity and labor loss of $5.2 million annually per company.  

These staggering statistics are leading many businesses and individuals to adopt biometric authentication as it been established as the most secure authentication method surpassing passwords and pins. There are many modalities of biometric authentication to pick from, but which method is the best?  

Fingerprint identification remains constant

In over 140 years of fingerprint comparison worldwide, no two fingerprints have been found to be alike, not even those of identical twins. Fingerprint recognition was originally used by law enforcement agencies in the 19th century by officials in Argentina to solve a double-homicide investigation in 1892. Since then, its role has expanded beyond law enforcement and is used for mobile authentication, onboarding, applications that require access control and identity management.  Fingerprint identification is based on pattern recognition where the arches, loops, and whorls of the fingerprint ridges are compared with stored data.  

This modality is flexible, easy-to-use and is right for you if you need to replace key cards and grant access to workstations. Fingerprint recognition has remained stable for more than 100 years, making it an infallible personal identifier. Keep in mind, however, that this modality is not touchless solution and may need to be regularly cleaned. If touchless authentication is not a concern, then fingerprint identification is perfect for you.  

Facial recognition meets demand for touchless solutions

The demand of touchless solutions has led to the popularity of facial recognition in consumer applications. Facial recognition is the process of identifying or verifying the identity of a person using their face. The technology works in three steps; detection, capture and match. In detection, the technology is detecting and locating human faces in images and videos. In capture, the technology transforms analog information (a face) into a set of digital information (data or vectors) based on the person’s facial features. Lastly, in match, the technology process verifies if two faces belong to the same person. The process is quick and easy to deploy and implement. Facial recognition can be used in addition to other biometric modalities or by itself, making the use cases for the technology virtually endless. Lastly, the front-facing camera on any mobile device, tablet or laptop makes it convenient and easy to conduct the verification and identification without the need of additional hardware. 

 This popular modality is right for you if you need multi-factor authentication or need to simplify your onboarding method. Facial recognition’s performance improves overtime with 99.5% accuracy on first use,  touchless, and perfect for the new normal. 

Remote authentication done through voice

Voice recognition includes speaker and speech recognition. Speech recognition is about recognition and translation of speech into text while speaker recognition is about seeking the identity of the speaker. Since biometrics is about identification of individuals, phrase “biometric voice recognition” is also used for speaker recognition. The technology works by capturing and enrolling a voice using a microphone to create a reference template to compare against samples for future authentication attempts. Unique vocal qualities are then analyzed such as duration, intensity, dynamics, and pitch. Voice authentication’s primary use case is automobiles and mobile phones.  

This modality is convenient and can be applied to virtually any use case. If you need secure authentication over the phone, speaker recognition works best. Since this modality simply requires the user to speak, verification can be conducted as long as the end-user has a mobile device. Additionally, it is touchless and meets the demand for touchless solutions.      

Iris recognition on the rise

Iris recognition is widely considered to be the most accurate modality of biometric identification. The technology works in four steps: image capture, compliance check and image enhancement, image compression, and biometric template creation for matching. The camera captures photos of a person’s eyes and maps the unique iris pattern to verify their identity. Iris recognition’s use cases range from national citizen ID programs, access control, border management and mobile authentication.  

The technology is easy to use and right for you if your enterprise requires access control. Like facial recognition, iris recognition is also touchless and meets the growing consumer demand for touchless solutions. However, this technology requires additional hardware because you cannot use a regular camera on a mobile device, it requires an IR light source sensor.  

Select the modality that works for you

When deciding on a biometric modality, one must consider the use case and convenience. The heightened consumer awareness of hygiene calls for touchless solutions like facial and voice recognition. Additionally, these solutions do not require added hardware, authentication can be conducted through a mobile device. Fingerprint recognition has the longest history, been a great addition into law enforcement and currently has various use cases. However, it is not a touchless solution and requires constant cleaning. Lastly, iris recognition is on the rise and is already being used to secure the most precious documents. Iris recognition works best if you need access control and meets the demand for touchless solutions. While great options, both fingerprint and iris recognition require additional hardware for use, decreasing convenience. Ultimately, deciding which biometric modality meets your needs depends on you!     

If you need assistance deciding which modality meets your needs, Aware has a vast range of easy-to-use solutions that meet virtually any use case. The Knomi® mobile biometric authentication framework is easy to use, secure and flexible. The framework would enable biometric facial matching and liveness authentication directly from mobile devices. Additionally, the AwareABIS™ supports fingerprint, face, and iris recognition for large-scale and small-scale biometric identification. Its modular architecture helps IT teams configure and optimize for any use case.  

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