Biometric Verification – Risk and Need of the Hour

Written by Ratnesh

Biometric verifications have gained a whole new perspective when facial recognition replaced the age-old fingerprint scans as the method to verify the identity of a person. But this technological advancement has not been without its consequences as there have been a lot of privacy concerns raised by digital rights groups. The regulators have been skeptical at best about the use of personal data of such confidential nature with corporate organizations.

The global market for biometric verification solutions is estimated to be well over USD 2.1 Billion, but it is also a fact to reckon with that the compliance regulations are quite strict when it comes to collection biometric information of customers. There are certain protocols that have to be followed for data collection, then there are several other certifications that are considered mandatory for data transfer and last but not the least, the storage and ultimate usage of that biometric data is considered a vital aspect for any business application of biometric identification for either user access management or identity verifications.

The prospects of Biometric verification were seriously hindered by recent debacle of FaceApp where the users were unknowingly giving the facial editing app, all the necessary rights of re-using their images in whatever way they felt like. But one cannot argue against the utility of biometric authentication, its swift processing powers and secure access it provides to end-users.

So let us weigh different options of biometric identification, how it can reduce the chances of online fraud and what potential risks are involved in using facial recognition software for verification of your potential clientele. But it is also important to assess the possible risk with an eye for finding solutions so that end users can benefit from state of the art technology without getting bogged down by regulatory compliance.

Biometric Authentication – Why you should care about the risks?

As a business entity that uses unique facial features of your customers to identify their identity, there are a lot of risks that must be considered. The first and foremost are the fines attached with the compliance regulations that can seriously dwindle the fortune of a company if they are found violating any aspect of the regulatory guidelines.

As one can imagine, biometric authentication is governed by many global, regional and national regulations and when being performed for remote user verification, the complications of the governing compliance is enhanced manifold. For example, GDPR is likely to affect an online business based in Australia as much as an organization based in the heart of Berlin. So they not only have to adopt practices to address user privacy concerns but they have to make sure that the data is secured from any potential breach. GDPR even means that the user has the right to get their data deleted, once their desired function is fulfilled or when they are terminating their relationship with the respective organization.

In case a business disregards the provisions of GDPR, especially when serving clientele from the European Union, they make themselves liable for paying millions of euros in the form of monetary fines. So it is important to consider biometric identification solutions in the light of Regulatory Technology – or RegTech – in order to better facilitate the usage of this technology to avoid unwanted monetary fines and regulatory oversight.

It has been detailed at length in various publications that companies and online businesses are moving towards a digital age where the online marketplace will be governed by swift processing that involves minimal input from human beings. Biometric authentication mean that user verification will be shifted from conventional ID or document-based verifications to a more sophisticated method which will be nearly impossible to cheat.

Biometric Verification – Next Step in Technological evolution

With features such as liveness detection and anti-facial spoofing, it makes much more sense to use facial verification as the preferred for user authentication. Be it the sign-up process of an e-commerce store or online account opening software, biometric approved registration can not only make customer onboarding entirely hassle-free but risk-free as well.

According to a survey, 48% of businesses want to adopt biometric authentication as the premier form of providing access to their customers. Instead of password-protected logins or 2-factor authentication, biometric identification can help provide a more secure yet cost-effective alternative for user access and according to another study, almost 90% of businesses will be using biometric technology for user authentication by 2020.

Recently, it was announced that airports in Germany will be using cameras to verify the identity of passengers through biometric verification. It shows the resolve of the authorities, and not just corporate organizations to adopt more sophisticated and hard to cheat systems in order to screen scammers and fraudsters. After all, an acceptance from all concerned players will lead to a digital age where user verification via biometric features will be a necessity and not just a technological choice to be made.

Regulatory Compliance for Biometric verification

Although, we do have discussed the liability associated with biometric verification systems for organizations in terms of privacy concerns and related regulatory penalties. But in actuality, the regulatory landscape has started turning a sympathetic and supportive outlook towards biometric-based verification. Identification of user features based on smart algorithms has been supported by many regulators across the globe for user identification and verification as long as the data is collected is after getting consent from the verifying person.

There is an additional limitation of data storage so that the facial sketch or the unique biometric features that are used for identification of end-users does not fall into the hands of the scammer or fraudsters. The above-mentioned usage of facial verification cameras on german airports is an important example of the fact that biometric identification is here to stay and can very well become the primary source of identity verification.

Some Important Questions to Answer

How Biometric verification is better than Ordinary User Verification?

Biometric verification is not only effective at curtailing identity verification spoofs but it also has a competitive edge when it comes to processing time. So it means that biometric verification not only enables a business to onboard clients with negligible risk of fraud but also do that in a relatively short span of time. Not to forget that it is perfect for both onsite and offsite verification of an incoming user.

What are important things to consider before choosing a biometric verification solution?

There are a number of things to consider before eventually settling for a biometric verification solution such as:

● Method of biometric verification

● Regulations governing biometric authentication solutions in the territory where this solution has to be implemented

● The targeted audience and their ability to flawlessly perform this kind of verification

● Whether verifications will be performed with an on-location feature or for the remote users should also be decided before opting for a biometric authentication solution.

● The nature of the platform that will be used to provide remote access to the customers and how biometric verification will work on it.

● Cost of each biometric verification

What is the best way to implement a Biometric Identification Solution?

An API based SaaS product will be the perfect method of implementing a solution whether for an onsite verification or to verify the unique biometric credentials of a user from a remote location. Such an API based service is surely deemed to have an SDK toolkit as well which means that businesses can avail the services of an identity verification SaaS product that offers biometric authentication.

Biometric authentication services can be availed without having to spend any money on third-party apps. End users are also facilitated by easy integration as they can directly perform verifications without having to install any plugin or browser extensions to finalize their user onboarding process. There is no need to go to separate websites either if a company decides to hire an API based service provider. With swift and easy integration, end-user can perform verification in the same iFrame as the Signup form or from the Registration screen

Should you really go for Biometric verifications?

For the longest time, fingerprint scanners and iris scanner were considered ideal versions of biometric identification and user verification. But the additional cost overhead resulting from special hardware and inability to perform remote user verifications meant that another source of user authentication was needed.

Facial verification for biometric authentication means that the swiftness and accuracy will become the cornerstone of user verification. With smartphones supporting high definition cameras, tablets integrated with smart capturing devices and specially designed cameras to detect facial features of human beings, biometric verification is poised to become the talk of the town in the next few years. But despite all the enthusiasm engulfing business processes to adopt biometric identification systems, it is important to protect the privacy of the end-users. This is not only necessary for the business interests of corporate organizations but also to adhere to corporate social responsibility.

Not to forget that the data processing becomes entirely hassle-free for online businesses with the help of facial verification technology. Thus increasing the chances of flawless user onboarding, higher transactions, better user experience and last but not the least, higher profits from online sales