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What is biometric authentication?

Biometric authentication is used by both businesses and individuals. But how exactly does it work?

If you’ve ever used facial recognition to unlock your phone or wondered how to integrate this technology into your business, this blog is for you. In it we address these questions: What is biometric authentication, why do we need it and how does it work?

As businesses strive to improve security while providing a user friendly experience, many are integrating biometrics into their user verification process. Currently, user identification and verification has friction and inconvenience because individuals have to take multiple steps to prove they are who they say they are, whether it is entering a password, personal details, or receiving a one-time-password. It is painful for the user and not particularly secure for businesses, who may have data breaches. In a recent survey, nearly 92% of enterprises highlighted that biometric authentication proved highly effective when it came to securing and storing data.

What is biometric authentication and how can it enhance user verification? Put simply, biometrics are a way to measure human features - be it physiological, such as facial characteristics, fingerprints or eyes, or behavioral traits like security responses.

Biometric authentication platforms enable users to verify their identity using biometric data to gain access to their account. Since biometric data is unique to each user, biometric authentication offers more security when it comes to verifying the identity of individual users.

Why do we need biometric authentication?

In the digital space where threats are constantly evolving, building a robust defense against cyber threats is critical. A Verizon study found that over 80% of network breaches were due to weak or stolen credentials, a clear indicator of how sensitive personal information is vulnerable to theft and data manipulation.

What is biometric authentication doing to tackle the current challenges in data security and identity verification? Traditional authentication methods have flaws that can be exploited by fraudsters and threat actors. Password-based account access can be insecure since users may forget their passwords.

Biometric authentication, however, presents a strong solution to counter risk and fraud without compromising on a smooth customer experience when it comes to logging in and accessing one’s account.

How do biometric authentication systems work?

Today this technology powers a large array of tasks in our everyday lives. Every time you unlock a smartphone using facial recognition, access your bank account using your fingerprint, or ask Siri for assistance, you’re using biometrics.

One of the more popular methods of biometric authentication, facial recognition technology, measures and verifies unique characteristics to identify and authenticate a user. By leveraging a camera, facial recognition technology detects or scans faces in pictures or images and creates a facial signature that can be verified against data obtained from a government or official ID

Facial recognition technology is constantly expanding - when it comes to utilizing it for secure identity verification, it is being actively adopted by multiple business areas ranging from digital banking, P2P services, online gaming, self check-in at airports to lounges or hotels, rental services and medtech.

With greater levels of identity assurance, improved customer retention and conversion rates, businesses are better equipped to protect their data from fraud, identity theft and account takeover.

While biometrics provide additional layers of security, data privacy remains a concern. Here’s where we face the question: What is biometric authentication’s role in protecting your data? Ideally, an identity verification system that integrates data privacy and security into its biometric authentication process is the optimal solution.

If you are incorporating identity verification into your product or services, be sure to effectively communicate with your customers to build trust.

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In addition to enabling a strong identity verification solution for your business, our team will guide you through the workflow. You can book a demo, explore our developer docs, or create a free trial account now

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Passbase is an identity verification solution that makes facial recognition, liveness detection, ID verification and KYC and AML compliance accessible through a suite of flexible developer tools. A zero-knowledge architecture ensures that companies using Passbase can securely verify users from over 190 countries without having to store their data. Built for developers, it can be integrated with just a few lines of code on iOS, Android, and Web.