Businesses and enterprises are seeking robust solutions to strengthen the security solution that protects their IT infrastructure. However, amidst finding the optimum solution, businesses are struggling to find the right answer to this common debate of biometric authentication vs password.
As we move ahead in the swiftly evolving world, every swipe or click can become a gateway for potential security breaches because who knows anything about the future? Besides, a security breach can cost millions to businesses along with a loss of reputation in the market. It is essential to take the right step, but what is the right direction when it comes to secure authentication? This blog delves into the intricacies related to biometrics and password authentication and understands which one is safer and better.
Businesses are concerned about protecting sensitive information and maintaining the organization’s security and secure authentication is the answer to overcome this insecurity. Authentication is the process of verifying an individual’s identity before providing access to crucial business-related information. It is an important aspect of security and protects important documents and data from unauthorized access. Here are five reasons that highlight the importance of secure authentication:
Robust authentication methods ensure that only authorized entities can access sensitive documents, reducing the risk of cyber-attacks and theft.
Data privacy and storage regulations are becoming stringent as the number of cyber crimes is increasing in every industry. Implementing secure authentication helps businesses to comply with regulations and avoid heavy penalties and legal complications.
Different secure authentication methods, like single sign-on and biometrics password authentication, can make it easy for users to access the documents, improving overall user experience.
Secure authentication practices build trust with customers, stakeholders, and partners. It shows that your organization and the executives’ commitment to security and protecting the reputation in the industry.
Authentication tracks and monitors the access to sensitive information, which makes it easier for organizations to identify potential data threats and meet the data retention and reporting requirements.
Multi-factor authentication, biometrics, password-based authentication, and risk-based authentication are some of the methods to implement secure authentication. Password-based authentication is where the user enters their credentials, like username and password. The entered credentials are matched against the stored credentials in the system database, and the user is granted access if the credentials match.
This is a traditional practice; however, emerging technologies have made authentication simpler with biometric password authentication. This advanced authentication method utilizes unique physical and behavioral characteristics, like facial recognition, iris scans, voice patterns, and fingerprints, to establish their identities.
If you are wondering are biometrics safer than passwords, then let’s analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both of the secure authentication methods:
- Enhanced security
When it comes to “Are biometrics safer than passwords, " yes, they are. Biometric authentication provides a higher level of security than password-based authentication methods, like passwords and PINs. This is because biometrics are unique to every individual and cannot be replicated easily or stolen. Even if fraudsters try to break facial recognition by wearing a mask or carrying a photo of an authorized person, the fraudster will not get access because it will not pass the liveness assessment.
Businesses prefer biometrics because they provide the convenience absent in password-based authentication. Users do not have to remember complex passwords, write them in a diary or somewhere, and save the passwords in the system, which third-party applications can steal. All they need to do is give their biometric information, and the system will verify their identity.
- Improved user experience
The convenience of swiftly accessing information or data with a biometric password enhances the user experience. It is quick, easy, and doesn’t require much information or skills. Besides, it is secure, which makes it the perfect security solution for banking, healthcare, and government services.
- Privacy concerns
Even though secure and convenient, biometric password authentication requires and stores sensitive and unique information about individuals, like fingerprints and facial features. The risk of identity theft and fraud might significantly increase if this data falls into the wrong hands.
- False positives
There are chances that biometric authentication systems can incorrectly identify individuals, like the access to an application can be denied if the user’s fingerprints are dirty or smudged. Now, this can create frustration and inconvenience for users.
- High cost
The advanced technology comes at expensive costs. Implementing and maintaining biometric authentication systems can increase the operation costs as the hardware and software required to implement biometrics are costly. Also, the infrastructure requires upgrades and maintenance to ensure its efficiency.
Passwords are traditional authentication methods, and people are familiar with the entire process. The familiarity increases the user experience as there is minimum friction in understanding how to proceed further and ensures fewer support requests.
Password-based authentication methods are inexpensive as compared to other advanced authentication methods because they are no additional specialized software or hardware required to be installed in the system or premise. It is a preferable option to ensure basic security for small businesses with limited resources; however, this trend is changing.
Password-based authentication provides users the freedom to control their passwords. Users can easily reset their passwords at any time and any place in case they forget or need to update their password. It gives them flexibility to manage the passwords as they see fit.
Password-based authentication is simple; however, it can become complex for users when they are required to set a password following a set of instructions, like the inclusion of special characters, one capital letter in the sequence, and others. It can create frustration among the user base and force them to abandon the services.
Password-based authentication is prone to fallibility because many things can happen, like people forgetting passwords, the systems storing the credentials crashing, and physical copies getting lost. Even if the user tries to reset the password through another method, like email, the user will not be able to reset it if the email is compromised or closed.
Users pick simple and easy-to-remember passwords, making them easy to detect. Most users use their name and birthday as their passwords, and they can easily become targets of brute-force attacks and credential staffing.
Passwords can easily be guessed or stolen, especially if one password is used for multiple applications and systems and they are weak. The hackers can easily get access to data and information if the password is compromised.
When it comes to which is safer, biometric authentication or password-based authentication, the debate isn’t about which is better. It is about understanding the unique strengths, acknowledging their weakness, and incorporating a collaborative approach where businesses can implement the best of both authentication methods.
Multi-factor authentication is a powerful security measure that significantly enhances the protection of applications and data by adding two or more layers for identity verification. MFA is a core component of IAM (identity access management) and CIAM (customer identity access management). One of the layers with password-based authentication and a second layer with biometric authentication can strengthen your security infrastructure.