Biometric Trends in the Aftermath of COVID-19

The pandemic that gripped the world in early 2020 has only tightened its hold, and forever changed events, work, and our personal lives. In response to the needs for social distancing and quarantine conditions, drastic changes have been needed in just about every part of our daily lives. 

Contactless deliveries, contactless payments, and identifying people even with masks on are just a few of the trends that began during COVID-19 lockdowns and are likely to continue for months afterward. 

We’ll review the trends that began earlier in 2020, and which ones we expect to see grow as we look ahead to 2021. 

Shift to Contactless Biometrics for Multi Factor Authentication 

It’s no surprise that with the spectre of a pandemic looming, focusing on contactless methods for multi factor authentication has been a priority for many businesses. 

This is especially true for workers who have to return to physical offices or workplaces, and need a sanitary way to gain access to secure areas. While fingerprint sensors and time clocks were considered convenient and adequate enough before this, the concept of a shared device that every employee touches is no longer acceptable. 

Voice recognition systems, facial recognition, or iris recognition are all contactless ways that employees can verify identity to clock in, gain physical access, or otherwise authenticate themselves with minimal transference risk. This focus on contactless biometrics for secure access overall, particularly physical access, is only likely to increase with second and third waves of the deadly virus hitting the world. 

Increased Use of Personal Mobile Devices for Biometric Capture

One way to ensure that people are able to stay appropriately socially distant but also securely verify identity is to leverage the power of the miniature computer we all carry these days - our mobile phone. Most cell phones today have a camera capable of capturing a detailed enough image or voice pattern to securely verify someone’s identity; if any single biometric isn’t enough, it can be combined with one or more through the use of a tool like GoVerifyID. 

Leveraging a mobile device to capture biometrics for authentication purposes accomplishes dual security goals. Biometrics as an authentication method in themselves are more secure due to how difficult they are to spoof or fake, but by using an Out Of Band authentication method, this breaks any opportunity for man in the middle or similar technological cyber attacks. 

Using cell phones as a method for multi factor authentication has already been a trend with the use of authenticator apps providing ever-changing, one time use codes. Now, cell phones are a way to authenticate someone in a contactless way, as well as a secure one, thanks to using biometrics. 

Alternative Methods to Verify Identity 

If you’ve been to the grocery store to buy sudafed, alcohol, or (depending on your store) sharpies, you’ve had to provide identification to show you are old enough to make the purchase. Most commonly, this is a driver’s license. 

However, using a photo ID to verify someone is old enough to purchase is significantly harder to do when you can’t see half of someone’s face. One of the most commonly trained ways to check that someone matches their ID is to check jawline, nose, and brow structure - the majority of which are covered when a face mask is worn properly! 

In the months and years to come, new methods of verifying identity are likely to appear. Smart ID cards that pair with biometric authentication? Iris scans in your driver’s license for accurate identification? It’s not certain how we will move forward with a contactless, face-mask friendly identification method, but it’s sure to be coming in the future. 

Increased Use of Facial Recognition Technologies

Conversely, while facial recognition is more challenging with a face mask, new algorithms are coming out to adapt to this new normal. Even in the face of controversy around facial recognition’s use in law enforcement, it remains one of the most accurate and hardest to spoof identification methods out there. 

Facial recognition combined with temperature readings is a common new use case that has seen a surge in requests, thanks to COVID-19 concerns. The ease of using facial recognition for consumer applications such as plane boarding, identification for voting, or similar areas where secure identification is imperative, helps drive many of the new applications for facial recognition. With COVID-19 continuing to also drive for contactless methods of secure authentication, facial recognition simply cannot be ignored. Its uses and applications will only grow and adapt with time. 

Get Ahead Of The Biometric Trends

Biometrics as a secure authentication method aren’t just a novelty or high-end security method anymore. They’re essential for day to day operations in many organizations, and will only continue to be so in the coming years. 

Get ahead of your C-Suite asking for simple sign on with biometrics by using GoVerifyID. With a simple, easy to install Active Directory Plugin, your end users could be enrolling and replacing their passwords with biometrics in a single day. 

If you’d like to learn more, request information below. A member of our team will reach out to learn more about your use case, and how our identity platform can fit in to your identity and access management workflow.

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