Biometric authentication has become very common in corporate security environments. But in addition to security, the driver for the development of this technology is user convenience. In many cases, this solution allows you to completely abandon passwords, and some biometric methods work without direct contact with a person, such as reading a person’s face or gait. If you are interested in using modern data security solutions in a company, as well as SOC 2 compliance costs, this article is for you.
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How Biometric User Authentication Works
Biometric authentication is a security process that is based on the technology of recognizing a person’s identity based on his biological characteristics. The uniqueness of these characteristics allows you to confirm whether a person is exactly the user he claims to be. Human biometric data is loaded into the database and is a reference. Then, when accessing the information resource, the biometric authentication systems take the entered user data and compare them with the reference ones stored in the database. If the data matches, then the authentication is considered successful, and confirmed, and the user gets access to the resource.
Biometric technology consists of the following components:
- Reader for recording biometric characteristics.
- Software for converting captured biometric characteristics into digital format and comparing with a reference value.
- Database for secure storage of reference biometric data and history of authentication processes.
Types of Biometric Authentication
Biometrics can be roughly divided into two parts: data that depends on physiology, and data that depends on behavioral characteristics.
Physiological features include:
- Drawing of the retina
- Facial features
- The sound of a voice
- Palm vein pattern
- Drawing of the iris of the eye, etc.
Behavioral characteristics refer to the manner in which people behave. It can be:
- Typing style (speed, hand placement)
- Keystroke force
- Gestures, etc.
Advantages And Disadvantages of Biometric Authentication
The use of biometrics has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include the following features:
- Impossible to steal and very hard to fake
- Ease of use and simplicity
- Does not require the user to invest special resources
- Not shared with other users
The disadvantages are:
- Deploying a biometric system requires a large investment
- There may be user authentication failures if the system fails to correctly read the data
- A database where biometric data is stored could be hacked
- If the user loses some of the biometric characteristics, for example, as a result of an injury, then authentication by these characteristics becomes impossible.
What to Consider When Implementing Biometric Authentication
To ensure that the use of biometric authentication does not lead to fatal consequences, some important aspects should be taken into account:
- Optimal MFA options. Organizations that are faced with the choice of which authentication factors to use to ensure the protection of assets should evaluate all the pros and cons of a biometric factor on a case-by-case basis. It is necessary to understand whether the organization is ready to use it, to weigh the costs of connection and the benefits of using it, and also to take into account the potential consequences and losses if something goes wrong.
- Biometrics requires reliable data storage. We hear about data breaches in the media and see tabloid headlines screaming about theft and fraud. Therefore, if a company decides to switch to using biometrics for authentication, it is necessary to provide a super-secure architecture and organize secure storage of confidential biometric data using modern encryption algorithms so that any attacks on them are unsuccessful.
- Minimum data and the possibility of decentralized processing. One of the basic principles of secure access control is minimalism and sufficiency. It is necessary to collect, store, and process only the minimum necessary sensitive biometric data, as well as very strictly decide whom to grant privileged access to them. If possible, it is better to process them in a distributed system and prefer an approach that, as they say, does not have to store all the data in one bucket.
- Awareness, learning, and feedback. Information security training in general always brings positive results, although it is often perceived negatively by employees. As with any new product or approach, the introduction of biometric authentication systems in a company requires user education and awareness of the importance of correctly understanding and following the necessary measures when using them. Employees or partners must understand to whom and for what purposes they provide biometric data. In addition, collecting feedback from users is also a good practice, as it helps to identify vulnerabilities, errors, and other negative factors, as well as to follow the path of improving UX / UI.
Biometric Authentication As One of The MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) Factors
Multi-factor authentication is an authentication method that requires the user to provide more than one piece of evidence to verify that they are who they say they are. In this case, the evidence that he presents must represent different factors. For example, the knowledge factor could be a password. The ownership factor can be a token, a smart card, or a device that receives an access code. A special factor can also be used – confirming the identity of the user, i.e. one of his biometric features.
In today’s digital environment, traditional methods of identification and authentication using only an ID and a password are no longer enough. The rise of cybersecurity threats and incidents requires more robust approaches to protecting organizations’ data and infrastructure. Today, there are enough authentication solutions from different vendors on the market, and each company can choose for itself more reliable methods and means of authentication based on its tasks and data protection needs. Quite often, the choice falls on biometric systems, because this is primarily one of the convenient ways to confirm the identity of employees.
Enterprise IT departments first examine tools that support multi-factor authentication and then select the most appropriate tools to include in a portfolio of solutions that will keep the organization secure. Then, as a rule, IT departments test new technological solutions on pilot projects to see how well they integrate with other infrastructure objects of the company. If you are interested in organizing comprehensive protection in your company and are interested in SOC 2 compliance costs, we recommend that you contact UnderDefense.
Organizations and consumers around the world are constantly facing a growing number of cybersecurity risks: stolen credentials are the main cause of information security incidents, and non-compliance or lack of password policy is becoming a common cause of loss and abuse. If multi-factor authentication is used, including biometrics as an additional factor, then this significantly reduces the risks of information security. We recommend that you contact UnderDefense, a trusted provider of data protection solutions if you are interested in SOC2 compliance, including the cost of this procedure.