What Does Biometric Authentication Mean & How Can You Benefit?
Want to learn the meaning of biometric authentication? You’ve come to the right place. In this in-depth resource, we’ll answer an important question we get asked frequently: what does biometric authentication mean? More importantly, however, you’ll learn what this revolutionary technological advance can do to keep your business safe and secure.
There is a lot of buzz around biometric authentication lately. From helping control access to both physical and digital resources to preventing fraud, there are so many use cases for this technology. We’ll also discuss here the difference between identification and authentication – as the distinction is important and commonly misinterpreted. Towards the end of this article, you’ll learn how you can integrate biometric authentication software into your business – so stay tuned.
So, what does biometric authentication mean?
What Does Biometric Authentication Mean?
At its core, biometric authentication is the process of using an individual’s physical or behavioral characteristics to verify their identity. These characteristics can be anything from a fingerprint or iris scan to a voiceprint or even a signature. In most cases, biometric data is collected via biometric sensors that are built into devices like smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices.
The use of biometric data for authentication purposes has become increasingly popular in recent years as it offers a number of advantages over traditional methods like passwords and PIN codes. For one, biometrics are much more difficult to spoof or fake than something like a password which can be easily guessed or stolen. Additionally, biometrics offer a much higher level of accuracy and convenience as users don’t have to remember multiple passwords or carry around physical tokens like keycards. On the other hand, biometrics often are immutable – meaning, once stolen or misused, it is hugely problematic to replace, say, a fingerprint or a voice scan.
We’ll get into the benefits (and the drawbacks) of this technology later on. First, let’s take a deep dive into how it works – as there are many different ways in which biometric authentication solutions can be integrated.
How Does Biometric Authentication Work?
As we mentioned earlier, biometric data is collected via biometric sensors which are then used to create a biometric template. This template is then compared to a reference template that has been previously stored in a database. If there is a match, the individual is authenticated and granted access to the desired resource.
It’s important to note that exact matches aren’t always necessary to grant access to users. Instead, this type of software looks for “nearly identical” matches. This is one of the drawbacks of the software – it has yet to be perfected. Nevertheless, it’s superior to traditional authentication software for a myriad of reasons – which we’ll discuss later. First, let’s take a look at the common mechanisms of biometric authentication.
One of the most common examples of biometric authentication is fingerprint scanning. As the name implies, this method uses an individual’s fingerprint to verify their identity. In most cases, fingerprint scanning is used to unlock devices like smartphones and laptops. However, it can also be used for physical access control systems – like the ones you see in office buildings or airports.
Fingerprint scanning biometric authentication works by capturing an image of the user’s fingerprint and then converting it into a digital template. This template is then compared to a reference template that has been previously stored in a database. If there is a match, the individual is authenticated and granted access to the desired resource – whether it be a physical location or a digital device.
One of the benefits of fingerprint scanning biometric authentication is that fingerprints are unique to each individual. This makes it nearly impossible for someone to spoof or fake a fingerprint – unlike a password which can be easily guessed or stolen. Additionally, fingerprint scanning biometric authentication is relatively accurate and convenient as users don’t have to remember multiple passwords or carry around physical tokens like keycards.
However, there are also some drawbacks to this type of biometric authentication. For one, fingerprints can be difficult to capture – especially if the user has dirty or wet hands. Additionally, this type of biometric authentication doesn’t work well with older populations, as their more wrinkled fingerprints may not be captured accurately by the sensors.
Another common example of biometric authentication is iris scanning. This method uses an individual’s iris – the colored part of their eye – to verify their identity. The way iris scanning biometric authentication works is the exact same as fingerprint scanning. An original image is captured, and then each time access is requested, another image is taken – which is then compared to the original.
Iris scanning biometric authentication is considered to be one of the most accurate forms of biometric authentication as irises are unique to each individual and they don’t change over time (unlike fingerprints which can be affected by things like cuts, scratches, or age). Additionally, iris scanning biometric authentication is relatively convenient as users don’t have to remember multiple passwords or carry around physical tokens like keycards.
However, there are also some drawbacks to this type of biometric authentication. For one, irises can be difficult to capture – especially if the user is moving. Additionally, this type of biometric authentication doesn’t work well in low-light conditions as the iris needs to be clearly visible in order to be captured accurately by the sensors.
Another common example of biometric authentication is voice recognition. This method uses an individual’s voice to verify their identity – as you probably surmised by the name alone. The way voice recognition biometric authentication works is that an original recording of the user’s voice is made and then each time access is requested, another recording is taken. This new recording is then compared to the original to see if there is a match. You’re probably starting to see the common theme in how these authentication mechanisms work.
Voice recognition biometric authentication has a few advantages over other types of biometric authentication. For one, it’s relatively convenient as users don’t have to remember multiple passwords or carry around physical tokens like keycards. Additionally, this type of biometric authentication can be used in noisy environments – unlike iris scanning which needs a quiet environment to work well.
However, there are also some drawbacks to this type of biometric authentication. For one, voices can be easy to mimic – especially if the user is not speaking in their native language. Additionally, this type of biometric authentication doesn’t work well with people who have speech impairments – like those who suffer from a cold or laryngitis.
The last common example of biometric authentication that we’ll discuss is face recognition. This method uses an individual’s face to verify their identity. If you’re using the latest iPhone, you probably have this feature set up – as it’s the most convenient, hands-free way to unlock your device. But how does it work? The exact same way as the other methods we’ve discussed thus far – comparing an image of your face to the template taken upon setup.
Face recognition biometric authentication has many of the same advantages and disadvantages as iris scanning biometric authentication. For example, it’s considered to be one of the most accurate forms of biometric authentication as faces are unique to each individual and they don’t change over time (unlike fingerprints which can be affected by things like cuts, scratches, or age, or voices which can be mimicked).
As with the other methods discussed thus far, there are also some drawbacks to this type of biometric authentication. It doesn’t work well in low-light conditions as the user’s face needs to be clearly visible in order for the sensors to capture an accurate image. Additionally, faces can be easy to mimic – especially if the user is not looking directly at the camera.
What is Biometric Authentication Used For Exactly?
Now that we’ve discussed some of the most common examples of biometric authentication, you might be wondering what biometric authentication is used for. Here are a few of the most noteworthy examples:
- Unlocking your smartphone or other devices
- Accessing secure buildings or rooms
- Logging into certain apps or websites
- Making financial transactions
As you can see, biometric authentication can be used for a variety of different things. Chances are, you can benefit from incorporating this technology into your existing processes. Whether you’re in the financial services industry and want a better means of authenticating users, or you just want to make your building or app more secure – let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of investing in this technology.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Biometric Authentication
We’ve talked about some of the advantages and disadvantages of biometric authentication already but let’s do a quick recap.
– More accurate than passwords or PIN numbers
– Can’t be lost or forgotten like physical tokens
– Convenient and easy to use
– Can be expensive to set up initially
– Requires specialized hardware and software (not always compatible with existing systems)
– Can be mimicked (depending on the type of biometric authentication being used)
As with most things, there are both advantages and disadvantages to biometric authentication. But when it comes to business applications, the advantages often outweigh the disadvantages. Think about it like this – the only disadvantages are the time commitment for initial setup and the costs associated with the technology. However, compared to the costs of fraudulent access or data breaches, the investments in biometric authentication software are incredibly low. This is a form of protection for your business and your users – and you can’t afford to risk going any longer without the most sophisticated security measures possible.
So, with that said, let’s talk about integrating the software into your business.
How to Integrate Biometric Authentication into Your Processes
If you’re interested in integrating biometric authentication into your business processes, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First of all, you’ll need to invest in some specialized hardware and software. Additionally, you’ll need to make sure that your biometric authentication system is compatible with your existing systems – which isn’t always the case.
The best way to get started is by connecting with us at FortifID. As the #1 digital onboarding, identification, and authentication solution in the industry, you can trust that you’re in dependable hands. We help you get up and running in days or weeks – not months. Whether you’re looking to protect sensitive data or make it easier to access your building, we can help. Verifying if a person is who he or she claims to be has never been easier.
With FortifID embedded in your processes, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing your business and users are safe and secure. Reduce fraud rates, collect and store less data, and minimize breach exposure and penalties. Head over to our site to learn more about what our online identity verification solutions and ID screening can do for you.
What Does Biometric Authentication Mean? Final Thoughts
So, what does biometric authentication mean?
In conclusion, biometric authentication uses physical or behavioral characteristics to verify someone’s identity. This can be anything from a fingerprint to a facial recognition scan. While there are some disadvantages to this technology, the advantages often outweigh them – especially for businesses that need to protect themselves, their employees, and/or their users.
With us in your corner, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing your business is covered. Don’t go another day without FortifID – reach out today to protect yourself!