Will Biometrics Replace Passwords?

No longer the sole domain of futuristic movies and media, biometrics are already mainstream—does anyone think twice about an iPhone user employing Face ID? With the growing vulnerability of the username/password setup, organizations are turning to biometrics to replace passwords and shore up security. Far from a gimmick, biometric adoption is rapidly increasing.

What Are Biometrics?

A quick refresher: biometric authentication works by digitally identifying someone using physical or behavioral characteristics (e.g., facial patterns, voice, typing cadence, fingerprints). Individuals have unique biometric characteristics, making this authentication method considered more secure than passwords for grating network, device, data, and system access. Oftentimes, biometric methods are combined for increased security.

In addition to being thought of as more secure, biometrics are also considered more user-friendly than more traditional authentication methods. Face ID is one example of how biometrics streamline the process; fingerprint detection unlocking a laptop is another example.

Biometrics by the Numbers

As a result of these benefits, biometrics are becoming widespread as a method for authentication and as part of a broader security monitoring approach. For example, in Singapore, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority is piloting a iris and facial recognition system that will allow contactless, easy immigration clearance. And Mastercard started requiring all of its users to use biometrics by the end of April 2019.

Recent surveys from Ping Identity and Spiceworks solidify the biometric authentication takeover:

  • 92% of survey respondents consider biometric authentication an effective or very effective data security method

  • 62% of companies are already employing biometrics, with another 24% planning to deploy within 2 years.

  • 46% of organizations use biometric authentication via smartphone, 25% use it for laptops, 22% use it on tablets, and 17% use it for time clocking

  • 11% use biometric scanners for server room/data center security and 9% for other office doors

As evidenced by these numbers, biometrics are on their way to becoming the norm.