By Rob Norris, Head of Enterprise and Cyber Security at Fujitsu in EMEIA
In the increasingly connected world, it’s critically important for businesses to safeguard against cyber threats. The fact that cyber criminals attacked one in five British businesses in the past year shows the challenge that businesses face in the cyber space. As digital services continue to grow, to meet the needs of consumers, the opportunities for hackers to harm businesses will mature as well. Cybercrime is relentless and in a world where processes like contactless payments have become the norm, biometrics can significantly enhance security in a wide range of settings. Biometric technology can help secure services when logging on to work devices, using on-site technology and physically accessing buildings, for example.
Digital Transformation presents both an opportunity and a challenge
As we continue to see a growth of connected devices, we will also experience greater security issues that have never even been considered, let alone dealt with. For businesses, the challenge will be providing the digital services that deliver an efficient and rewarding customer experience that is secure.
While the reputational damage of a hack is clear, the financial impact on a business could be even more detrimental. This year, Verizon announced it had lowered the valuation of Yahoo by $350m in the wake of two significant data breaches; the financial damage for businesses is obvious. Cyber campaigns such as Wannacry or Petya/NotPetya hit the media every day and businesses know that it’s not a matter of if, but when. Setting out a business strategy without considering the impact of cyber security is tantamount to commercial suicide, and any organisation that wants to build a sustainable business needs to build it in from the outset. And something that should form part of that strategy is biometric technology.
Biometrics has come of age
Consumers have always sought out services that are convenient, seamless and rewarding, and in a digital world that has become even more of a challenge in many businesses. The exchange of data, where customers give you their data in return for goods or service, has become a focal point for everyone. Consumers expect their data to be safely stored and protected. Therefore businesses must balance the demand for convenience with the absolute best in data management and protection.
Of course, the challenges posed will be very different for each sector, while the benefits will vary as well. For instance, cyber security measures in finance will be to safeguard money, while retailers will likely want to encourage spending among shoppers and have to reassure consumers that their platform is safe. The first step to achieve this is ensuring that the perception of biometric technology changes from niche to mainstream, accepted by all consumers.
Biometrics could be a differentiator for digitally savvy businesses in providing enhanced security. Imagine, for instance, a world where we all have a smart bank card that can only be activated via palm scanning technology. It could be an authentication system that uses biometric technology to verify users based on palm vein pattern recognition. The use of this technology would also enable the highest level of security as palm patterns are almost entirely impossible to copy, providing different levels of security. It can be used to improve security by authenticating staff logins at cash registers, simplify patient admissions at hospitals and provide users with quick access to banking information.
Whether this type of technology is implemented when travelling on the underground, paying for lunch or purchasing goods, a highly secure payment authentication model could be developed that would enhance trust and stability when purchasing goods. Not only would this be a much more secure method of money transfer, but it both safeguards the customer and places technology innovation at the very heart of the business. The biggest benefit is clearly the ease of use but a greater advantage is a robust cyber security model.
Biometric technology offers new and secure ways for protecting our people, assets and businesses
Biometrics cannot be copied, offering the most secure and convenient method of ID authentication on the market today. We are currently working with the airline industry to run a proof of concept, using biometric technology that could see boarding cards replaced! This same technology has already been integrated into existing physical access control systems in place at the Groupama Arena in Hungary for ticket purchases. The system can handle large numbers of visitors at events and is being used to guarantee crowd safety inside the stadium, as visitors only enter their designated sector, preventing stolen or lost tickets being misused, with the added benefit of eliminating secondary ticket markets.
Biometrics allows businesses to safeguard their customers: once a customer has registered with a business using biometrics, they never have to register again and it provides a simple and consistent method of authentication. Integrating it into the organisation’s overall strategy adds an extra layer of security that is invaluable in the era of digital business. Biometric technology is a powerful tool in cyber security – and one that business leaders should carefully consider as part of their offering to the ever more demanding consumer.