30% of organisations to use biometric security on mobile devices by 2016

Almost a third of businesses plan to use biometric authentication for mobile devices as part of their bring your own device (BYOD) programmes by 2016, according to research firm Gartner.

The analyst firm explained that BYOD programmes have caused potential security problems for IT directors within enterprises and data that is protected by complex passwords and security measures on employees’ PCs is not guarded as well on their mobile devices. As a result, Gartner expects that 30 per cent of organisations will implement biometric authentication on employees’ mobile devices, up from five per cent today.

“Mobile users staunchly resist authentication methods that were tolerable on PCs and are still needed to bolster secure access on mobile devices,” said Ant Allan, research vice president at Gartner.

“Security leaders must manage users’ expectations and take into account the user experience without comprising security.”

The research firm said that in addition to having weaker security on mobile devices, the number of devices used in BYOD programmes is increasing, exacerbating the exposure of businesses’ critical information.

It recommends that IT leaders evaluate biometric authentication technology, such as voice recognition, face topography and iris structure, for instances when sensitive data is at stake. These modes can be used in conjunction with passwords, Gartner said, in order to provide more security without necessitating a change in user behaviour. It added that biometric authentication would also eventually have to be implemented on employees’ PCs.

“Adopting significantly different authentication methods for different devices will eventually be unsustainable,” said Allan. “Mobile-apt authentication methods must also be PC apt.”

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