Biometrics are widely used in a variety of sectors, from the police force to border control, and on many phones fingerprint and face login are commonplace. According to Microsoft 150 million users are already using passwordless authentication to access their data and this number is steadily rising.

As biometric authentication becomes more common both in everyday life and in business, it is useful to ask whether biometric or non-biometric passwordless validation is more appropriate for your business. Let’s take a look.

What is biometric passwordless authentication?

Biometric passwordless authentication uses aspects of our physical self to access files, computers and devices, and the most popular physical attribute used is a fingerprint. According to a report by Statista, the biometric authentication industry has been growing steadily since 2018. It is expected to be worth $55 billion by 2027.

Biometric authentication cannot be hacked like a password, so using biometrics makes it almost impossible for others to access your device and data. Many platforms such as Microsoft Azure AD are promoting biometric authentication. In doing so they support a wide range of biometric devices, such as smartphones, security keys and standalone readers.

Our Thin-C AUTH has a built-in fingerprint scanner enabling biometric authentication.

What is non-biometric passwordless authentication?

Non-biometric authentication is often seen as a back-up or is used alongside biometric passwordless security, but it in fact it can be just as secure as biometric systems.

A key acts as a physical unlocking device, but often without the need to be plugged into a computer. Instead, the key can use technology such as Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) to unlock access to a computer-based on proximity. This type of passwordless access normally requires a multi-factor authenticator. For example, a pin code might be sent to a smartphone for the user to enter into the device they want to access.

Non-biometric authentication can come in many forms but is frequently implemented through security keys such as our Gatekeeper Halberd. This has the advantage of connecting to a platform which offers a range of features such as password management for adding or revoking users, allowing easy integration into an organisation’s data security policies.

What method is best for you?

When using a biometric solution it is hard for a cyber attacker to replicate a fingerprint or other physical attributes, and with a failsafe measure in place on many devices, multiple failed login attempts will be detected and access blocked before any damage can be done. Non-biometric solutions can be slightly less expensive to implement depending on the type of security tools used, but they are also inherently less secure, as pin codes, like passwords, can be stolen.

Still, both biometric and non-biometric passwordless authentication are effective ways of keeping computers and data safe if implemented properly and supported by appropriate firewalls and secure connections.

It is also possible to go one step further by selecting a device that utilises both authentication methods, using multi-factor authentication to combine a biometric (for example fingerprint), and non-biometric (for example PIN code), factor.

Some people may think that implementing a biometric solution like this is expensive, but in fact, there are affordable solutions for all businesses. Selecting the right device for you may well be less about budgetary concerns, and more about deciding which device is most appropriate for your business. For example, a proximity-based solution might be the best choice for situations where computers are shared, such as in manufacturing or healthcare.

Here at SecureDrives, we understand how important data security is to companies. We offer a range of multi-factor authentication security keys and secure drives to ensure your data remains safe, and we are happy to advise on the right solution for any particular situation. With the latest technology and high-grade security, you can rest assured your sensitive information is safe from cybercriminals.

Speak to us today to find out more about how we can help keep your data safe and secure from hackers.