New devices are getting away from passwords

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We all have several things to open, access and unlock, multiple times daily. Buildings, devices, padlocks, vehicles, servers – the list goes on. Current processes, however, can take up a lot of time and offer poor user experiences as well as being less secure. After all, who hasn’t lost or lent their keys, or forgotten a PIN number, and had to deal with the resulting delays and frustration?

Sadly, the days of PINs and passwords noted in the past are not yet gone, but their days are numbered. The surge in hacking and digital crime is driving the world towards more robust forms of access management.

Digitized identity verification has increasingly become a cornerstone of today’s society, bringing greater security and convenience to the things we access – physically or digitally – every day. Crucially, though, it’s essential these solutions offer an intuitive and seamless user-experience, while only authorizing approved individuals.

With use cases multiplying rapidly, biometrics is gaining traction as a means of “accessing” things securely, without harming convenience.

Well established in the smartphone world, the benefits of biometrics are gathering momentum across a broad spectrum of other industries, adding value to access control use cases in both the physical and logical arenas.

As the number of digital devices and services grows, the need for seamless and secure access to locations, devices and applications is essential to remove the hassle and insecurity of PINs and passwords.

In addition to the well-documented challenges of physical keys, PINs and passwords, the market is driven by a number of factors, such as increasing crime rates globally, technological advancements and deployment of wireless technology in security systems, and adoption of IoT-based security systems with cloud computing platforms.

Because of this, the access control sector is set for growth with a potential CAGR of 8.24% between 2018 and 2024, which will see the market grow from USD 7.5 billion in 2018 to USD 12.1 billion.

The highest growth within the access control sector is seen in the residential vertical. For smart homes, with more and more connected IoT devices, access control systems are being used to enhance security. A few key factors to contribute to growth include the rise in crime rates, and ongoing technical advancements. It's also important to remember controlling different access rights such as for certain areas like medical cabinet or certain rooms; or permission to access certain times for example package delivery or cleaning personnel.

Health care is one vertical sector set to drive growth as it seeks to protect access to critical health and patient information. Key industry players have even identified smartphone-based fingerprint recognition as a key means of tying medical data to patients. And biometrics will increasingly be used to ensure that only authorized medical staff can access sensitive information, reducing the risks of data breaches and theft.

North America is leading the way in the adoption of access control solutions. Growth in cyber and malware attacks has led government and security agencies to enhance security. Alongside this, many companies are turning to next-gen access control to address both physical and logical access challenges with strategic IAM (Identity Access Management) strategies, such as shifting from passwords to biometric authentication. In countries such as China, India and Brazil biometrics is already well adopted to access buildings, offices etc.

So, with new devices – from myriad door lock types and apps, to cryptocurrency cold wallets and automatically adjusted car settings – and digital services – like employee portals, cloud platforms and online payments – requiring authentication, biometrics look set to help overcome the limitations and irritation of traditional authentication modalities.

The benefits of biometrics are not theoretical. With confidence in biometric authentication proven by the mobile sector, consumers increasingly want biometrics to access other areas of their lives.

A combination of human error and laziness with today’s complex password requirements has created the environment for biometrics to rise to the top as one of the best authentication solutions to increase security hand in hand with convenience.

Historically, people viewed biometric authentication as futuristic. Today, biometrics is proven by the mobile sector, and being recognized as a convenient and secure path to user authentication for any digital device or service.

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