Biometrics Benefits Business

Fingerprints help business prevent data loss and theft because of how difficult they are to duplicate. Protecting an organisation’s sensitive data in the event a laptop is lost or stolen is invaluable, but implementing biometric authentication can lead to other, less obvious benefits.

Biometric implementation can help firms comply with a litany of government regulations for data security and can help to combat the hackers’ exploitation of password weaknesses. Preliminary findings suggest employees prefer using their fingerprints to authenticate to their machines over other methods. Passwords can be difficult to remember and tokens are easily lost. Furthermore, most corporations have seen that acceptance by users can either make or break the adoption of new technology.

Today, businesses are using biometric technology in a variety of ways. When a fingerprint is required up front before the operating system loads, this is called "pre-boot authentication". Proper authentication before booting the operating system or accessing the hard drive is one of the strongest ways to pretect data if a laptop is lost or stolen. Using biometrics for pre-boot authentication adds security, but keeps the process easy and convenient.

Fingerprints can also be combined with passwords and used as two-factor authentication when accessing Windowsâ„¢ a VPN or the corporate network. Another common business application is to require fingerprint authentication, in order to access sensitive documents or to log into secure applications.

With respect to administration, fingerprint authentication systems have made huge headway in recent years and are easy to deploy and maintain. Passwords and their hassles may even be eliminated entirely when the biometric validation is done at a central server. A server-based biometric implementation benefits network administrators by allowing them to enroll a user’s fingerprints at a remote station.

When fingerprint enrollment is done at a central location and the fingerprints are automatically distributed to the user’s account across the network, the system administrator can verify the user’s identity when he or she enrolls his or her fingerprint. In this scenario, users are also free to "roam" or, in other words, to log into different computers, all with a single fingerprint enrollment.

To alleviate the fears that users may get "locked out" of their computers, administrators are able to specify a backup method of authentication in case of sensor failure, which is uncommon.

Compared to other authentication methods that require complex administration systems, external tokens or expensive hardware, biometrics is emerging as one of the more cost-effective technologies in terms of both deployment and administration.

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