When Security Collides with Customer Impatience
Raj AnanthanpillaiRaj Ananthanpillai

When Security Collides with Customer Impatience

How Biographic and Biometric Information Work as a Team to Solve the Problem

By Raj Ananthanpillai, CEO, Trua

Online customers don’t take long to get fidgety.

They want their transactions to happen – and they want them to happen now. The more clicks they need to make, the more passwords and PINs they need to enter, the more security questions they need to answer before they can carry on with whatever business brought them, the more frustrated they get.

Sometimes this user friction becomes too much for them and they bolt, never finishing the transaction they started or intended to start.

That leaves businesses in a quandary. Streamlining the process will make those customers happier, but possibly at the cost of security. And if someone steals the customers’ personal identifying information, they aren’t going to be thrilled with that at all and likely will blame the business.

Fortunately, there is an answer, an alternative that will remove some of the steps that are slowing these processes down and yet make the transaction even more secure, all at the same time.

How so? Businesses can make things better for everyone by confirming a user’s identity through the integration of biographic information with biometric information

The Benefits and Limitations of Biographic Information

People and businesses use biographic information – name, address, date of birth, and other identifiers – all the time as a way to ascertain that a person is who they claim to be.

This is a good thing – as far as it goes. Biographic information, after all, is a basic element of identity verification in so many instances, serving as the initial layer of authentication. A business can match the information a person provides with existing records to establish a foundational level of trust. Yes, this person appears to be who they claim to be.

Unfortunately, biographic information isn’t always enough. Cybercriminals are frustratingly adept at breaking through cybersecurity efforts and stealing people’s personal data. With that data in hand, they masquerade as the real person, creating problems for businesses and for the identity-theft victims. It’s disturbing beyond measure, but it’s also, sadly, the reality we face.

Fortunately, there is an excellent way to bolster the biographic information without bogging down users with all those passwords, PINs, and other security steps. This is by using biographic information backed up with biometric information. Together, the two make an outstanding team.

The Integration of 2 Types of Identifiers

Cybercriminals face a much greater challenge in trying to steal someone’s identity when biometric information is involved.

This is because biometric information encompasses unique physical or behavioral traits that distinguish one person from another.

Common biometric qualities or attributes include fingerprints, facial recognition, iris scans, and voice recognition. In some cases, even behavioral biometrics come into place, such as how an individual uses keystrokes when typing on the computer. Once a person’s keystroke rhythm is determined and recorded, then that becomes another identifier.

An identity thief might be able to steal records related to birth dates and addresses, but these biometric markers aren’t so easy to forge. The thief may present a name, age, and address that says they are a particular person, but facial recognition says otherwise.

This is why biometric markers are ideal for enhancing the security of online transactions. Integrate biometric information into the process and businesses can reduce the risk of fraudulent activities.

How This Plays Out in the Real World

Any industry can make use of the synergy between biographic and biometric information, but let’s look at a couple of specific areas where the combination is especially beneficial.

Banks and financial institutions are already at the forefront, in part because so many customer transactions take place virtually these days rather than in person with the customer standing in front of a teller. Banks can have a customer take a photo of themselves and provide identification that already has the likeness on it. Their image is then stored and facial recognition software is used when they are involved in a transaction.

Healthcare is another area where protecting data is important. In this case, it is the patient’s medical records that contain all sorts of personal information and must be kept secure. With remote doctor visits and patients accessing their records through online portals, the integration of biographic and biometric information adds that extra layer of security that is critical.

As businesses move forward with this, though, they will need to keep a few things in mind. For example, biometric information is wonderful for helping verify a person’s identity, but once the business collects and stores the information, it must be kept secure. That will require the business to implement secure encryption, adhere to stringent data protection regulations, and ensure transparent policies are in place for the use and retention of biometric information.

To make sure customer trust isn’t compromised, the business should make sure it has user consent and that the customers are told how the data will be handled.

But despite those caveats, businesses and consumers alike will find that the integration of biographic information with biometric information will lead to more secure transactions.

And eliminate some of those customer frustrations in the process.

About the Author

When Security Collides with Customer ImpatienceRaj Ananthanpillai is Founder and CEO of Trua, a technology company that provides privacy-preserving identity and risk-screening platforms that assure trust and safety in digital environments, sharing economy, employment and workforce screening. Ananthanpillai has more than 30 years of experience building technology businesses, with successful exits. One of his companies was instrumental in developing TSA-Precheck, and other security threat-assessment programs for some U.S. intel agencies. Ananthanpillai holds an M.S. in Engineering Physics and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering. In addition, he holds multiple U.S. patents and has authored two books.

Ananthanpillai can be reached through his company website www.TruaMe.com.

April 15, 2024

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