Barriers to Biometrics are Tumbling While the Benefits Build Up – CEE Organizations Should Get Ready to Take the Leap

September 27, 2016 by Mark Child

According to a new report by IDC, The Benefits of Biometric Security for CEE Organizations, the advent of widely available and affordable biometric technologies is allowing CEE organizations to consider biometric authentication as a viable alternative to password-based identity and access management (IAM). This is further supported by the growing development of authentication standards and application programming interfaces (APIs).

This analysis follows IDC's prediction, from its global study Worldwide IT Security Products and Services Futurescape (IDC #259386), that by 2020 a quarter of all worldwide electronic transactions will be authenticated biometrically, driven by the use of biometric-enabled devices. However, the new CEE report emphasizes that transaction authentication is just one element of the growing biometric revolution. Device and endpoint access has been resolved for some years, and the trend now is simply adding biometrics to more models and form factors until it becomes ubiquitous. The current challenge that vendors and end users are addressing is biometric authentication for applications. While this can be done and is done – at certain companies for specific departments and applications  the issue is to roll it out comprehensively and cost-effectively across the organization and across all applications.

Another challenge centers on data privacy regulations and legislation: how and where biometric data is stored and secured, and how the biometric data (and, critically, data associated with that biometric identifier) is used and processed. The EU's GDPR classifies biometric data as sensitive data, requiring it to be treated separately and given a higher level of protection, and this is something that organizations need to be aware of and ready for if they embark on any use of biometric authentication.

IDC believes that biometrics adoption and market growth will continue as new technologies and interfaces become available, new standards are adopted, and organizations find ways to roll them out cost-effectively across their operations. This will generate opportunities for companies to improve their security stance – but also for vendors and expert partners to provide consulting and advice on the optimum biometrics solution for their customers.

"At a fundamental level, many of the barriers to biometric authentication adoption come back to cost," says Mark Child, CEE Security Practice Lead at IDC. "Companies are looking for a trade-off between biometric deployment costs and savings from legacy authentication to tip the balance in favor of biometrics. This has not happened on a broad scale yet, but the market is moving towards that point."

IDC's study, The Benefits of Biometric Security for CEE Organizations, aims to help technology vendors and end users assessing biometrics trends across the region or considering the adoption of biometric authentication within their organization. The study provides analysis of the key trends, investment drivers, challenges for end users, and market inhibitors.


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IDC engages in an innovative discussion about information and telecommunication technology through events, market intelligence and advisory services. For 51 years, IDC has provided unique insights and data to ICT and business leaders to support their strategic and tactical decisions. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company.