Mobile security

Indian businesses to switch to biometric authentication

Shaleen Sinha

Almost a third (30%) of global organizations will use biometric authentication on mobile devices by 2016 compared with just 5% now, according to a recent report by Gartner.

The trend could be more pronounced in India because businesses rely heavily on mobile devices. As mobiles increasingly contain business critical data, their security will become more important.

According to a

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Research and Markets forecast, the biometrics market in India is set to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of just over 44% during the period 2013-2018.

Today, most organizations require robust passwords on laptops, but smartphones and tablet devices often have access to the same applications and critical data but not the same levels of security, said Gartner.

Jagdish Mitra, head of mobility at Tech Mahindra, said: “The mobility penetration in the Indian business ecosystem is high and people are now using their mobiles not just for texting or making calls, but it is a virtual office where monetary transactions and sharing of corporate data are occurring in different ways on a daily basis.

“With the huge turnaround in technology adoption by Indian businesses, there are companies that are using biometric as a second form of authentication. NASSCOM is also working on a project to use biometrics for electronic know your customer (eKYC) in the banking sector. And with the banks, telcos  and the government moving forward with various forms of biometric authentication, it can be safely assumed that biometric authentication applications are bound to be even more acceptable among Indian businesses in the next two or three years.”

To this end, IT leaders have to address the security concerns while minimizing trade-offs between security and usability.

John Girard, vice-president at Gartner,said the use of a six- or eight-digit lower-case alphanumeric password can provide billions of values and requires hours to recover.

But password authentication alone is not enough to protect sensitive corporate applications and data, he said. Gartner recommends the use of biometric authentication methods where higher-assurance authentication is required.

Suitable authentication modes include interface interactivity, voice recognition, face topography and iris structure. These modes, if used in conjunction with passwords, can provide higher-assurance authentication for critical business data.