The widespread acceptance of biometric technology looks set to continue into 2014 after Microsoft announced that it would be an integral part of the latest version of its popular operating system.

According to Tech Target, Windows 8.1 will support biometric authentication through a fingerprint scanner, with the expectation being that this will provide users with the means to ditch passwords as the primary means of accessing the features associated with a variety of Microsoft applications. While biometrics is certainly not a new avenue for the company to explore, it could be seen as another sign that the technology is being channeled towards the general public as a whole.

If this is the case, then it follows that biometric security will become more familiar, especially when taking into account Apple’s recent embrace of fingerprint authentication protocols. According to the news source, the Microsoft user account itself must be configured to accept a biometric sign-in, with the operating system now updated to integrate fingerprint scanners as standard means of verification.

Microsoft has been a strong supporter of biometric security in the past, and it will be interesting to see how other companies react to its decision to make the tech part of an application and registration process. Naturally enough, the company has ensured that the software limits the number of attempts that a user can make to access the system, with the news source noting that as the authentication technique becomes more common, companies will likely make sure that physical security strategies are updated to fit in with this trend.

The last twelve months have seen biometrics achieve a level of public acceptance and awareness that has arguably been the remit of the data security sector. While there is no doubt that the technology is one of the most secure means of access control, making it easier for users to understand and implement into their daily lives is likely to play a part in mainstream adoption.