Guest blog: Passwords are dead, now what?
04 June 2018 14:37 GMT

By Rotem Shemesh, Product Marketing Manager, Real-Time Authentication, NICE

Think about how much of our lives are protected by a password, and yet almost every day there is news about the latest cybersecurity hack or breach. As humans we tend to be the weakest link. When we forget passwords, or reuse them carelessly, we increase the risk of a breach. It’s not an issue of simplicity either: even the most complex passwords are still in need of additional layers of security as they can be stolen. Since passwords are no longer adequate, many enterprises are looking toward biometrics, leveraging the unique traits we all have like fingerprints, face and voice biomarkers to secure sensitive data. Some industry analysts are predicting the biometric system market to grow to more than $30 Billion (USD) by 2022.

We are all consumers of biometrics authentication - from accessing our mobile devices, opening our office door, to accessing our bank account or talking to a contact center agent. Biometric-based authentication is more robust than any other method and ties an identity to a specific individual rather than a password or a code that could be used by anyone. In 2018, more organizations will accept that passwords are dead and will look to choose a biometrics solution that makes sense for their business. The only problem is, the “right solution” isn’t always obvious.

*The table is based on information from here

Choosing The Best Fit

Fingerprint, face and voice biometrics all bring something different to the table. For instance, while a fingerprint is a very straightforward, it requires specific hardware that not all consumers can access. Passive voice biometrics require no hardware and no extensive effort from the user either, however it makes sense to use this method only for specific channels. Lastly, face biometrics might be very intuitive for millennials, but perhaps less appealing for baby boomers who might not feel the most comfortable taking a selfie to access important information. In fact, a recent study found that three fourths of young professionals are comfortable with biometric tools such as fingerprint scanning compared to 58 percent of those over the age of 55.

Although voice biometrics often come out on top for ease of use for all generations, your organization’s specific needs are most important. What may be the right biometrics solution for you and your organization, may be the wrong choice for another. Consider the following factors:

#1 Fraud Prevention: Liveness Detection

Today’s reality presents concrete risks such as spoofing, duplicating people’s faces to fool face recognition, and fake fingerprints (even based on social media pictures). This, together with current industry trends, makes investing in a highly accurate technology that includes liveness detection a necessity. According to a recent report by Opus Research, biometrics generally include both False Rejects (denying authentication of a real user) and False Accepts (accepting authentication of a fraudulent user). The more liveness detection that is inherent in the technology, the safer. However, the biometrics method shouldn’t be intrusive and liveness detection should happen in the background to lessen the effort spent on authenticating for the end-user.

#2 Putting The Consumer First

As consumers grow more demanding, their attention-span becomes shorter and they have very little tolerance for mistakes or delays. When it comes to customer authentication, organizations should use the most intuitive and easy-to-use methods. With that in mind, the best biometric solution would be the one that requires as little effort for the end-user as possible.

#3 Minimal Enrollment Effort

Adoption rates are the key to success for implementing biometric authentication methods. Imagine after deploying, promoting and launching an accurate authentication solution, only less than 10 percent of your customers are using it. Often times, the most successful implementations are driven by ease of enrollment. 

In fact, the enrollment rate is the number one predictive indicator that suggests how many customers will use biometric-based authentication in their next interaction with the organization. A high enrollment rate (for example, 70 percent of customers within the first year) means that most customers would use it. A low enrollment rate often means that most customers won’t use it and the investment was null. Choosing a technology that is not only easy to adopt, but seamless to enroll in is key.

When choosing the right biometrics method, it’s important to consider first what information is being secured and how your end-users operate. Although there are pros and cons to each method, and no solution is bulletproof, biometrics are steadily on the rise and here to stay.