Discussions around biometrics always turn to two topics – identity or privacy. What’s missing from the conversation is how both are essential parts of modern security, and how the right strategy will leverage and protect both at the same time.
Identity in the Digital Age
Fifty years ago identity meant your driver’s license, passport, Social Security number if you lived in the United States, and a birth certificate. These were the documents that made up your identity, and not much else. Today, our identities are a vast conglomeration of not only these documents but our online accounts, social media presence, email addresses, and more. The digital age has ushered in a new wave of identification, and given people more options on how to identify themselves.
For identifying ourselves in a secure manner, most individuals use a password. But we’re quickly realizing that a string of alphanumeric characters doesn’t prove who we are. From financial transactions to logging into our company servers, we need a stronger form of authentication – a way to really prove that we are who we claim to be. Enter biometrics.
Biometrics & Privacy
The first concern anyone has when biometrics enter the picture is privacy. You can reset a password, but you can’t change your fingerprints. This is a well-known risk when it comes to biometric authentication, but the truth is that, with the right identity and access management platform, these fears are completely allayed.
The only way to properly deploy biometric authentication is to use a solution that makes protecting the user’s biometric data, and therefore their privacy, a top priority. There are several steps that are necessary for this.
- Use encrypted communication – It is essential that any identity and access management system that uses biometrics also uses two-way SSL for sending and receiving biometric data.
- Store it in a secure space – The use of mobile devices for biometric authentication provides a built-in secure storage solution for iOS and Android that can be utilized to add a layer of protection to the data.
- Encrypt all transactions – It’s essential that a strong form of encryption is used on any biometric and identifying data before it’s sent or stored. The best system uses visual cryptography to drastically minimize the risk of the data being stolen.
These three steps will help to ensure biometric data remains private and that the end user’s identity remains safe while using it as the strongest form of authentication.