Fingerprint Scans, Other Bio-metrics Becoming More Common Workplace Security

More and more companies are using biometric authentication technologies, according to a new survey of nearly 500 IT professionals from North America and Europe. Researchers predict that by 2020, 86 percent of organizations will incorporate some form of biometric authentication technology in the workplace.

Spiceworks carried out the survey to determine how biometrics fits into the workplace and what IT experts think about its security. They found that 62 percent of companies are using biometric authentication technology and 24 percent more plan on utilizing it within the next couple of years.

Forty-six per cent of organizations said they were using fingerprint technology on smartphones, which many people already possess on their personal mobile devices. The most popular? Apple Touch ID. An additional 25 percent of businesses said they’re using biometric technology on laptops, while 22 percent use it on tablets, and 17 percent use it on clock systems to verify employees’ identities.

Eleven percent of companies control door locks for server rooms or data centres using biometric scanners, and 9 percent use the tech to lock and unlock other rooms in the workplace. Eight percent use the technology to log into specific applications, while 7 percent use it for logging into desktop computers.

The most common form of biometric authentication in the workplace is fingerprint scanning, with 57 percent of companies using it in some way. The second most common is facial recognition. Fourteen percent of organizations use this type of biometric authentication. Less common forms include hand geometry recognition (5 percent), iris scanning (3 percent), voice recognition (2 percent), and palm-vein recognition (2 percent).

IT pros cite several reasons why the use of biometrics is not more widespread in the workplace: cost (67 percent), reliability concerns (59 percent), systems upgrade requirements (47 percent), fears about the storage and/or management of biometric data (42 percent), and employee resistance (42 percent).

The majority of IT experts believe biometric authentication is secure (74 per cent). Fifty-three per cent believe the technology is harder to breach than text-based passwords.

However, just 10 percent of the IT pros think biometrics should be the only form of authentication, and only 23 percent think it will replace text-based passwords in the near future.

While it appears to be beneficial for security reasons, IT professionals have some concerns about the technology. They worry about the risks of false positives (64 percent), the possibility of identifiers being compromised or replicated (57 percent), and the lack of standards (50 percent).

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