In an increasingly digital and interconnected age, the need for data security is greater than ever before. This is why biometrics solutions are gaining in popularity. Endorsed by technology companies, large corporations and government agencies alike, biometric security can make our credit cards, electronic devices, servers and airports safer. Fingerprint scans have already made their way into our everyday lives, with Apple's TouchID, but that is just the beginning. The next era of digital security will see travel documents and company access cards integrated with biometrics, because of the additional safety provided.  

"The global biometric market is expected to reach $16.7 billion by 2019."

Biometric security is becoming ubiquitous
WinterGreen Research recently issued a report that discussed the rise of biometric security as an industry and technology trend. In 2012, the global biometric market was valued at $5.2 billion, but is expected to reach $16.7 billion by 2019. That growth will be witnessed worldwide as the use of electronic devices in banking, health care and our everyday lives continues to increase.

With the prevalence of electronics in almost every facet of modern life, the need for better security is obvious. Every day, data breaches, hacking and password thefts are reported across both the public and private sectors. This is why biometric security is compelling. Biometric devices can protect intellectual assets and individual information because these pieces of technology are capable of providing additional protection over traditional passwords. Biometric security devices can identify any person and do so repeatedly. Furthermore, it is significantly harder to steal a fingerprint or iris scan than it is a password. Biometrics are harder to replicate and steal, and impossible to guess – as is the case with weak passwords.

According to WinterGreen Research, biometrics will also play a larger role in law enforcement in the future. With more people going on social media sites, sharing personal information and preferences online, safeguarding that data is essential. Also, as smart technology becomes more commonplace, biometric scans, like TouchID on Apple iPhones, will make our cars, homes and mobile devices safer. 

Biometric security is even seen as helping to reduce the risk of terror attacks. Facial recognition software will be used to screen suspicious individuals. Authorities will have a leg up on keeping their constituents safe. In the coming years, according to the research, we will see biometric security in our airports and at national borders. Russia and Mexico were noted for their strides in implementing the technology into their infrastructure already. Whether to protect individual, corporate or government information, the market is clearly heading in an upward trajectory. 

Biometric technology is on the rise. Data protection is more important than ever.

Data breaches need to be prevented
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, data breaches in the U.S. reached a high of 783 in 2014 – a 27.5 percent increase from 2013, noted It seems that traditional modes of security have failed to provide what is needed. Biometrics are now seen as the solution to that problem. Although the technology faced some resistance at first, individuals, companies and government agencies have warmed up to the idea that their fingerprints and faces are better than passwords. Rueben Orr, vice chairman of ASIS International Physical Security Council, pointed out that times are changing. 

"People are using fingerprint technology to log into their computers and phone," said Orr, according to the news source. "They understand that this is a good way to protect the personal information stored in those devices. We're also seeing new technologies. Some that we've seen include wearable technologies with some form of biometrics to identify who you are and using a phone to access a controlled door."

The various forms of biometric technology explained that the range of biometric choices includes fingerprint, hand print, iris recognition, retina and voice recognition. However, the most commonly used one is fingerprint, as the devices are easier to manage and more affordable. Alternatively, retina recognition is more complex and involves shining a light into the eyes to capture the pattern of the iris.

Additionally, fingerprint scans do not have to be standalone solutions. Biometrics can be used as part of a multi-tier authentication process. Access cards, passwords, PINs and fingerprint scans can be used in concert to grant authorized users entry to certain facilities or data collections. These types of security measures are particularly helpful at companies where there is heavy traffic in and out of the buildings that house intellectual assets. 

"Three factor authentication including biometrics is used to control access to high security doors like a server room or data center," said Orr, according to the media outlet. "One government building in Washington, D.C., is the headquarters for a federal agency with 10,000 employees … Most work at remote workplaces, but about 5,000 employees come into the building through turnstiles every day." 

Orr also explained that the finance and commerce industries can benefit strongly from using biometric security. 

"I think that the financial industry will develop a biometric-based combination of digital certificates and wearable devices that will help to manage commerce securely," added Orr.

It is evident that biometric security is here to stay. This is further evidenced by Apple acquiring intellectual property assets of biometric security firm Privaris. Apple will likely integrate more biometric security into all of its products and offer fingerprint authentication for desktop computers, laptops, tablets, phones and all other technologies that fall within the scope of Touch ID. The result: We will have more biometric security in our lives.