Biometrics, or metrics that are related to human physiology, have been used in security measures since the early 1900s (think fingerprinting, which is still used today to identify individuals).
But we’ve come a very long way since then. Things we used to see only in spy movies – retinal scans, voice recognition, palm identification – are all realities now, and have been for some time. We continue to make strides in biometric security as well, because it offers so many advantages over other security measures. See this infographic for more, and read about each of these advantages below.
Biometrics cannot be lost or forgotten, and they’re very unlikely to be stolen.
Anyone can forget a password or code word. But you can’t forget or lose your fingerprints, retinal patterning, or palmprint. For that reason alone, biometrics have an edge over more traditional security measures.
While it’s not impossible for biometric data to be stolen, it’s highly unlikely that any reputable organization would store its data in a way that hackers could access without extreme difficulty. This is not always the case, of course – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which was the target of a legendary hacking in 2015 that included 5.6 million sets of fingerprints, had been warned of multiple problems with its cybersecurity systems before the hacking occurred.
The bottom line? Unless biometric data is stored sloppily, on unencrypted servers, it is very, very difficult to steal it.
There’s zero chance of two users having the same identification.
Biometric security also means that no two users will have the same ID, which is a huge advantage, especially when it comes to access to top secret and highly sensitive information.
There have been cases of mistaken identity, allowing two people with the same password or name access to classified information, even when one person has a much lower security clearance than the other. This, of course, can lead to major security breaches.
Data is kept highly secure from outside users.
As mentioned earlier, any reputable organization keeps its biometric data highly secure. Breaches do, unfortunately happen – however, the breach of biometric data like fingerprints, retinal scans, etc. is much less frequent than that of things like Social Security numbers.
Biometrics provide unique identification on the individual level.
Since you can accurately identify users with zero doubt, biometric security measures allow you to link a specific user to a particular event or access point – say, a computer login or secure entry.
This means that if a breach does occur, it’s much easier to track who may have committed it, and how they accessed your facility or database.
It’s nearly impossible to duplicate biometrics.
Just as it’s extremely difficult to steal biometric data, it’s also practically impossible to duplicate it. Iris scans, for example, rely on tiny patterns and details in a person’s iris pigmentation that are almost impossible to see with the naked eye.
Iris scanners take an extremely detailed picture of your iris, identifying about 240 unique features. There’s almost no way that a person could duplicate your particular iris scan. The same is true for facial recognition, or vein recognition, which recognizes the pattern of veins in a person’s hand or finger.
Biometrics systems are simple to install and require little funding.
Despite the advanced technology that biometrics systems use, these types of security systems are actually quite simple to install and relatively inexpensive.
As biometrics have become more and more commercially popular, the ease of use of these systems has gone up, while costs have come down. Once the systems are installed, operators need minimal training to get them going – the systems do nearly all the work on their own.