Five Biometric Trends to Watch in 2020

Data breaches have become an ever-present threat in the digital age. In the first half of 2019 alone, there were over 3,800 cases of data breaches - representing a 54% increase over 2018. Compromised private data can have severe consequences on a person’s life, from affecting credit scores to having identities stolen, and more.

With four-fifths of data breaches resulting from weak or stolen passwords, it’s clear that traditional identity authentication methods are no longer effective at providing security for sensitive data. Amidst this, biometric technology is emerging as an alternative, since it is the most secure and convenient authentication method available.

With an increased demand for biometric technology, the authentication industry is rapidly changing. Below are some of the emerging biometric trends to look out for in 2020.

1. Cloud-Based Biometrics

This trend, represented by a shift from device-based systems to cloud solutions, is often tied to mobile biometric technology. Instead of saving the user’s biometric data on the device, it is logged and stored in the cloud. This approach has three major benefits:

  • Having data stored in the cloud allows for consumers to register once and use those same biometrics across all their devices, as opposed to having to onboard on each device.
  • With cloud biometrics, the processing of the biometrics happens in the cloud. As opposed to on-device biometrics, there is no need to invest in hardware and infrastructure. This drastically reduces start-up costs.
  • Cloud-based applications have a much larger processing power than any individual device. The result is faster processing times of biometric authentication requests.

While the movement to push cloud-based biometrics has already begun, it is anticipated to grow even larger in 2020. Its improved speed, convenience, and cost-efficiency make it an ideal setup across multiple industries.

2. Multi-Factor, Multi-Modal Authentication

As technology continues to improve, so does the level of sophistication of biometric systems. Multi-modal authentication provides businesses an extra layer of security. Spoofing one biometric is highly unlikely, especially with advanced anti-spoofing systems, but the chance of spoofing two biometrics is nearly zero. 

Through multi-factor authentication, companies offer flexibility and convenience to their users. For instance, professionals who work with their hands may encounter difficulties with fingerprint scanners; night-shift employees (in dark surroundings) may be unable to properly verify through facial recognition. Having options improves the user experience and reduces the burden of authenticating.

3. Increased Regulation Around Personal Data

With biometrics becoming a prevalent technology, governments, and other institutions have begun to regulate how businesses can collect, store, and use biometric data. 

In the United States, the state of Illinois enacted the Biometric Information Privacy Act in 2008. This state law granted users a “property interest” in algorithms used to establish their digital identities, allowing them to file suit for alleged violations of this law. The act was further updated in 2019 when the state ruled that private companies need consent from its users to collect biometric data, including fingerprints, iris, and facial scans. 

Most recently, California has enacted CCPA, a state law that has deemed biometrics as personal data and will prosecute companies that expose them.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) established a consistent framework, requiring explicit and affirmative consent before collecting data, including biometric info.

4. Liveness Detection and Anti-spoofing

Advanced biometrics companies, such as ImageWare, have started to incorporate liveness detection as an added layer of security to their biometric systems. 

Since biometrics have started to be used more commonly, hackers have begun to attack said systems. Liveness detection analyzes the biometric samples provided and looks for traces of liveness, in order to avoid being spoofed by a photo, video, or even 3D mask.

5. Behavioral Biometrics

This modality of biometrics tracks a user’s unique behavioral patterns. It may include keystroke patterns, typing quirks, touchscreen gestures, mouse speed, and more. If the system detects differences in movement compared to the pre-set typical behavior, the session is flagged as compromised and revokes access to the user.

Behavioral biometrics is still in its infancy. It requires another modality of biometrics for the initial authentication, and its reliability is far inferior when compared to other biometrics. Its future might be bright, but for 2020 it will most likely be a cool add-on, at best.


It’s Time to Embrace the Need for Biometrics

Biometrics are heading towards more secure, faster, scalable, and more convenient systems. Biometric authentication is set to overthrow passwords in the near future, and governmental regulations punishing data breaches will help speed up the adoption. Moving away from passwords that have been around for thousands of years takes time, but this change is imminent.

With biometric authentication becoming a necessity for businesses, the challenge is finding the right product for your needs. If you are in the market for a modern and scalable way to beef-up your business’ IT security, then look no further than ImageWare's GoVerifyID. It’s simple, convenient, user-friendly, and most importantly, provides a powerful layer of security to protect you and your customers’ data.

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