Biometrics The Benefits And Challenges Of Remote Authentication Systems

Biometrics: The Benefits and Challenges of Remote Authentication Systems

Remote authentication tools such as iris, face, voice and finger vein detection, as well as behavioral biometric scans, can record a person’s identity precisely and save it into a database.

Be it telecom or the banking industry, onboarding customers involves filling out customer acquisition forms and paperwork such as address and customer antecedents’ verifications, resulting in delays in SIM activation or the creation of bank accounts, respectively. With voice biometrics technology deployment, account activation can be done by enrolling a person’s voice remotely. This avoids the hassles of visiting service providers and banks during Covid-19 and filling out cumbersome paperwork, prevents fraudulent users registration, lowers processing time and costs, and allows for a wider reach of customers. With a biometric solution, it can take about 10 seconds to authenticate a user’s identity to resolve any queries or issues.

Proof of life is another area. Elderly pensioners visit banks to ascertain they are alive to receive their pension. With voice biometrics, they can simply call a toll-free number and authenticate themselves without having to visit the bank and get their pension credits.

In situations like we’re in right now, with a pandemic and elections coming up, authenticated voters could dial a toll-free number and cast their votes using an interactive voice response system (IVRS) or vote through a smartphone app or web access layer by using their voice as the unique immutable password. This IVRS or web access system could be administered by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), liaising with other government bodies to approve the veracity of the voter.

A remote authentication system (a hybrid solution of facial, fingerprint, iris and voice detection leading to multifactor authentication) could help ensure a credible, consistent and secure voting process. It helps sort out issues of verification and duplication (avoidance of multiple registrations, multiple voting) and ushers in the “one voter, one vote” theme.

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With facial or similar systems giving inaccurate results and their subsequent ban in the U.S. due to racial bias, voice biometrics could help as a solution. Voice biometrics is the science of using a person’s voice as a unique identifying biological characteristic in order to authenticate them. Also referred to as voice verification or speaker recognition, it enables fast, frictionless and highly secure access to suit parameters such as ease of use, inclusivity and accuracy.

Best Practices For Voice Biometrics Implementation

Evaluating the customer needs, meeting key personnel, identifying the integration process and mapping processes where voice biometrics can be deployed are the first and crucial steps for implementation. Statistics and industry adoption suggest that voice identification offers significant security advantages over authentication methods that are based on something you know (like a password or answer to a “secret” question) or something you have (like your mobile phone). While voice biometrics also improves the customer experience by removing frustration associated cumbersome login processes and lost and stolen credentials, this should be followed by a detailed plan to identify the IT/telecom infrastructure, a procurement plan for hardware, software for installation and configuration. Integration with other vendors and service providers (U.S. government bodies for Social Security number verification and the FEC) for seamless communication can be another step.

The next steps would be to identify the appropriate voice biometric approach (text-dependent or independent) and choose the appropriate metrics and goals for implementation (false accept-reject ratio, fraud voter prevention ratio, etc.). If required, a pilot can be modeled to identify the risks and help stakeholders visualize solutions. For any successful rollout promotion, education and communication play vital roles so users get comfortable with and are aware of the expectations from the new system.

The combination of multifactor authentication (voice biometrics and Social Security number and device identification) can help create a strong crime deterrent.

Key Challenges In Adopting Voice Biometrics

There are several challenges and hurdles to cross for any new system that is put in place that can be identified and addressed during proof of concept or pilot stage. User experience management is a way to get the user accustomed to and trained on the new system.

  • Extended network perimeter/vendor coordination: The additional hardware, software and network changes to the existing system’s maintenance, as well as coordination with a third-party system (such as s government body), to obtain and send information seamlessly can be challenging.
  • Budgets: These need to be planned and set aside for various project phases for a timely, successful adoption of the technology. There is a general myth that multifactor authentication is overkill and hard to fit into a budget, which needs to be clarified with prospective customers.
  • Operational hurdles: These may include issues such as voice authentication being affected by noise, short utterances, more than one voice during enrollment or authentication, bandwidth availability for app-based usage, and more.
  • Security policy and compliance: Even after deployment, people need a push to start using the new voice biometric system. Overcoming resistance to change to the new technology, removing alternate systems, and including clear visual instructions and documentation assist in a successful rollout.

Once these challenges have been overcome, biometrics can be used as a technological advantage point and a safety precaution during these uncertain times, and can allow consistent recognition and barrier-free participation from anywhere and at any time.