Biometric authentication solutions measure users’ live biological characteristics (such as their facial structures, fingerprints, or typing patterns) to authenticate their identities. These solutions are gradually gaining traction in the business world—and it’s easy to see why.
For one, with 61% of all data breaches involving compromised credentials (Verizon), biometric authentication solutions are a powerful alternative to protecting accounts using insecure passwords—or even as just an added layer of security as part of a multi-factor authentication (MFA) process.
Biometric authentication solutions are also a great way to improve the user experience by offering a more passive, frictionless authentication process.
But there are a range of solutions out there that can vary in capabilities and features quite dramatically. Some offer biometric authentication as a standalone identity and access management solution, while others offer their product to be used as part of an MFA or continuous authentication process; some specialize in physiological biometrics (based on physical features such as facial structure and fingerprints) while others focus on behavioral biometrics (based on behavioral characteristics, such as typing patterns or gait).
So, selecting the right solution for your organization in a sea of options can be overwhelming—not to mention time-consuming. But we’re here to help.
We’ve put together a list of the top biometric authentication solutions for business. Throughout this guide, we’ll take a look at a range of biometric authentication solutions—including both physiological and behavioral biometrics products—and delve into what they do, what features they offer, and who they’re best suited for.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does biometric authentication work?
Most biometric authentication solutions work in a similar way—they require both a pre-enrolled biometric template and fresh data to authenticate a given user. Let’s use facial recognition software as an example.
When a user signs up to use facial recognition software, they must perform an initial scan of their face. This scan is then analyzed and processed by the software, and becomes the biometric template to which all future authentication attempts will be compared.
When a user then attempts to log in using facial recognition software, their new scan is compared to their template—if it matches closely enough, they’re granted access. If it doesn’t, they’re denied.
But facial recognition is a physiological modality—behavioral biometrics work slightly differently. This is because they’re based on a set of recorded behaviors as opposed to a static reading.
For behavioral biometrics, the template is constantly shifting and evolving because the software continuously monitors users in the background. But they still work in the same way in that any new authentication attempt is compared to the template of user behavior in the system.
What’s the difference between physiological and behavioral biometrics?
The two broad categories of biometric characteristics are:
- Physiological biometrics: These are based on physical characteristics such as facial structures, fingerprints, hand geometries, iris patterns, and more.
- Behavioral biometrics: These are based on behavioral characteristics such as typing patterns, gait, mouse tractions, physical movements, and more.
While both types of biometric authentication are incredibly accurate and secure, behavioral biometrics are generally considered slightly stronger than physiological biometrics.
This is because behavioral traits are far harder to spoof, and because they’re based on biometric templates that continuously evolve and grow more accurate as time goes on.