Survey: 86 Percent of Firms Will Deploy Biometric Authentication by 2020

A new research study found 86 percent of companies said they’re either using biometric authentication or are planning to do so by 2020, despite concerns about false positives and transparency around vulnerabilities with the technology.

In the report from Spiceworks, which was based on a survey of close to 500 IT professionals across North America and Europe, 62 percent said they’re using the technology today, and 24 percent they would follow suit within the next two years. More specifically, 46 percent said they’re taking advantage of the fingerprint readers built into smartphones and using biometric authentication as a way of giving employees access to applications.

Additionally, a quarter are using it on laptops, and nearly as many (22 percent) were offering the technology on iPads or other tablets. In areas where security is at a premium, such as data centers or server rooms, 11 percent said a fingerprint or iris scan may be the only way to open the door.

Ongoing Concerns With Biometric Authentication

Despite all this traction, less than a quarter of Spiceworks survey respondents foresee biometric authentication being used over manually typed passwords within the next two to three years. In fact, 65 percent said vendors should be more forthcoming about flaws in biometric technology that could be targeted by cybercriminals or internal threats. Nearly the same number (63 percent) believe vendors aren’t being clear about how they’re collecting the data used in their biometric products and services.

One of the biggest fears — expressed by 64 percent of those surveyed — is the potential for a fingerprint or iris scanner to make a mistake and give access to the wrong person. That’s why biometric authentication may be best used as part of a multipronged approach to security, combined with passwords and other mechanisms.

The Biggest Players — So Far

Some of the most popular fingerprint scanners in use by organizations today are made by firms more associated with the consumer market rather than those that focus on safeguarding enterprise data. Apple’s Touch ID was used by 34 percent of those surveyed, whereas Lenovo and Samsung were both cited by 13 percent, followed by Dell and Microsoft at 11 percent.

Until there’s a secure enterprise option, organizations must be diligent in how they roll out — and, when necessary, roll back — biometric authentication. Consumers may appreciate the ease of access with this technology, but security must trump convenience in a business setting.

Shane Schick

Writer & Editor

Shane Schick is a writer, editor and speaker who focuses on how information technology creates business value. He lives...