Biometrics – the process by which an individual’s unique behavioral or physical traits are detected and captured to verify identity – offers one of the most reliable ways to verify identity, particularly when compared to knowledge-based and token-based methods like passwords and identity cards. Every individual has their own unique behavioral and physical characteristics, which is the very reason biometric authentication is so effective. From the iris's patterns to the structure of the face to the fingerprint to the sound waves created by a voice, each human has one thing in common: we are all different.
Back in 2018, a professional network in the IT industry, Spiceworks, polled IT professionals across Europe and North America, finding that 62% already worked for companies using biometric for business and security purposes, with an extra 24% planning to implement the use of biometric identification and authentication by 2020. No doubt, those numbers have only gone up, and biometrics has been adopted across many industries within the past few years.
Many businesses have turned to biometric authentication today because it securely quickens the authentication process for both customers and employees. Consumer satisfaction is just as important as security these days. Offering an authentication process that’s quick and easy is vital to success in any industry. Biometrics offers both security and efficiency, keeping employees and customers happy.
While it’s become evident that biometric authentication offers some excellent advantages over traditional authentication methods, there’s still some confusion on the various types of biometrics available and the best ones for organizations to use. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common types of biometrics available.
Facial recognition software measures the geometry of a person’s face, including the distance between the chin and forehead, the distance between the eyes, and other points on an individual’s face. After the data has been collected, it’s transformed into an encrypted facial signature.
Why is facial recognition so popular? Today it’s used on many different mobile devices, so many consumers already use it. It’s convenient for customers to use facial recognition on the go via their mobile device, which is why it’s such a popular choice.
Facial recognition software uses facial liveness detection technology to discover whether a real face is being presented to the system. People may try to fool a facial recognition system, and liveness detection helps fight this problem.
The two different types of liveness detection include active liveness and passive liveness detection. With active detection, users must take action to prove they’re a real face. Passive liveness detection, a newer, innovative method, does not indicate consumers that they’re being tested, and those users aren’t required to perform additional tasks.
It’s important to find a system that offers passive liveness detection. It’s more secure, more convenient, and a frictionless way to prevent fraud while protecting the customer experience.
The iris is the colored portion around the pupil of the eye. Look closely, and you’ll notice it’s made of various asymmetric thread-like structures, which help adjust the pupil. Iris biometrics scans the iris to determine identity.
Iris scans offer an excellent form of biometrics because the eyes are protected against damage and wear in most cases. It’s difficult to alter the iris, there’s little margin for error, and the iris generally stays stable throughout an individual’s lifetime.
Another of the different biometrics types is the fingerprint scan, one of the oldest biometrics forms. It’s been used widely, safe and cheap to implement, and involves scanning an individual's fingerprint to determine their identity. Statistics suggest that only one in a billion can ever be matched in fingerprints because they’re so unique.
Using fingerprint scans offers convenient, easy biometric authentication for users. There’s no need to remember a password or bring along a device like a keycard.
The shape of an individual’s vocal tract, which includes the larynx, nose, and mouth, affects the sound produced when they speak. The way that a person says something, such as tone, accent, pace, and movement variations, is also unique to everyone. Voice recognition captures inflection, cadence, nasal tone, and the fundamental frequency of a voice, and by combining both behavioral and physical biometrics, it’s possible to create a very precise voiceprint.
Voice recognition offers several benefits. First, it’s a hands-free form of authentication, and its contactless format makes it more hygienic, something that’s become even more important with the current global pandemic. It’s also easy for consumers to use, another reason it’s becoming more popular.
With many different types of biometrics available today, what biometric attributes should your business analyze for identification and authentication? There’s no one answer for every business. It depends on many factors.
First, understand that some governments may require that you have more than one type of identification. For example, in Mexico, both facial recognition and fingerprints are required. The types of biometric attributes your business needs to analyze depend on your government regulations and your end goal.
Are you looking for a way to offer your customers a faster, more convenient experience? If so, you may want to only use facial recognition that leverages passive liveness detection. It is quick and easy, which makes it great for onboarding new customers. It’s frictionless, which means customers quickly get through the signup and login processes, avoiding problems with abandonment and ensuring the best possible user experience. It also requires no movements like blinks, head turns, or camera zooming, which improves the customer experience.
Why use biometrics for authentication for your company? Biometric authentication offers superior security. Since each individual has their own unique behavioral and physical characteristics, this form of identification and authentication is effective. While there are multiple types of biometrics, each offers its own unique benefits, and the fact that every individual is different is what makes biometrics for authentication so powerful today. The exact type of biometric attributes you decide to analyze for your business will depend on many factors. Still, the main goal is to ensure that it comes up to government standards while offering your customers a convenient, fast experience.