How Safe Is My Data With Biometrics?

Nov 26, 2020

As with any security system, biometric access software comes with it’s own set of risks to be understood by any business looking to implement one for their own workplace.

Biometric security systems are a relatively new piece of technology to the business world, and as such, concerns continue to rise over the safety and security of the biometric data that’s being gathered. However, companies are continually investing in, and designing new ways to protect and secure that data. 

With concerns around data hacking, the duplicating of physical identity and general personal privacy – we wanted to give customers a deeper understanding into how biometrics are used in security systems, and how companies have been working to eliminate the risks that come with them so that users can better understand and manage their own systems. 

What Are Biometrics? 

To put it simply, biometrics are metrics or measurements of certain human features, which are then used to build a profile of an individual. Nowadays, there are many different biometrics that can be measured, from fingerprint and iris patterns to overall facial structure and tone of voice. 

Once an individual has their biometrics collected and logged in to a database, a profile is built and that biological feature can then be used as a “key” to a chosen security system – whether that’s your smartphone or your workplace security. Every time an individual attempts to access a security system, their biometric data is measured and compared to the stored database, granting access to approved individuals and rejecting unapproved ones. 

Biometrics offer many advantages due to the fact that most physical characteristics that are used are permanent features, specific to each individual, and as such are nearly impossible to duplicate. Personal features such as fingerprints and iris patterns make perfect features for biometrics as their unique patterns do not change as we age, however other features such as voice, palm vein patterns and overall facial structure are common metrics used to build each individual profile.

Most security systems that rely on biometric access focus on a singlar characteristic to build a profile, however by adding multiple characteristics and data into the system an individual’s profile becomes even stronger, adding more layers of security. As with any security system, there will always be potential risks and threats, however there are measures that companies can take that can greatly minimize the chance of a data breach. 

The Risks Of Biometrics 

Every security system comes with it’s own set of risks, and biometric systems are no different. The metrics of each individual that are collected and catalogued provide a high level of security, but they also put everyone on the database at risk of having private information stolen in the event of a data breach. 

Unlike passwords or keys, biometrics cannot be changed on an individual, meaning that in the event of a breach, it’s not as simple as changing a password or changing the locks – which is why companies treat the security of each database as a top priority. 

However due to the nature of biometrics, replicating or spoofing a person’s profile would prove to be extremely difficult without a deep seated knowledge of each biometric measurement and security system, and a large amount of time and resources. Compared to obtaining a password or key, replicating someone’s fingerprint, iris pattern or facial structure is a far more costly and time consuming process. 

This leads to the more common risk associated with biometric access systems – the security of the database itself. As stated before the metrics that are collected and stored on the database provide the best in market security, however due to the personal nature of the measured metrics the cost of a data breach is much higher, as once the biometric data has been breached it’s impossible to change. This has compelled companies to invest heavily in measures that look to protect biometric databases from the risk of a potential hack or data breach. 

Minimizing The Risk 

Biometric access systems have quickly overshadowed traditional security access methods for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s much easier and cheaper to obtain a password or guess a number combination than it is to impersonate a person. Secondly, biometric security systems utilize many different technologies across multiple devices/systems, making them a far less valuable target. 

There are also many ways in which biometric security access has evolved to minimize the risk of a data or security breach. With each piece of information gathered and stored on any individual their overall profile is strengthened, giving them more points to be identified by – this is often known as two factor authentication. By having more than one identifying metric, the level of security is increased tenfold, as the individuals profile is now even more complicated to spoof or duplicate. 

As the number one concern for biometric systems is around privacy and the risk of hacking/data breaches, database security and personal privacy are prioritized at every step of the way. By keeping software regularly updated and performing regular, rigorous testing companies are restless in ensuring the security of their database is as foolproof as possible. 

Although the risk of a data breach is a concerning outcome, companies aren’t new to protecting their secure assets, however it’s important that they understand the value of the personal information they are collecting and storing, and take all measures possible to protect that data. 

Systems that rely on biometrics as their security key are by far the most user friendly and secure systems available to the modern business – yet customers must be ready to understand exactly how their biometric systems work in order to make them as secure as possible. By understanding how the technologies work, and how they can be manipulated, companies can work with their security providers to ensure their systems are suitable for their requirements and that consistent checks and updates are applied to ensure that the system is as safe and secure as it can be. 

Get in touch with us if you need any help or advice on your Biometric journey. If you’re looking to prioritise the integrity of your site and easily manage people, certifications, blacklists and more, you can download more information here or contact us today.

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