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IT Cringed When I Told Them My Password Is 123456

Mar 29, 2016

By Godfrey Cheng

Easy-to-guess keyboard passwords are just one of the pitfalls of legacy user authentication. In the world of enterprise IT, maintaining security is a challenge and managing the logistics that enable it can be tedious as well. But it is never in vain – protecting the company’s crown jewels is so important, and in our hyper-connected world, strong security procedures are necessary. Biometrics provides that enhanced security, eliminates the headache of managing passwords, and provides efficiency when automatically accessing enterprise software applications.

Thus far, there hasn’t been an easy way to integrate biometric security procedures and devices across the broad range of devices deployed by most companies. This is now changing, as fingerprint sensors are much more common, have evolved into smaller and more discreet form factors and are widely accepted by users who’ve become accustomed to that method of identity verification. Adding those fingerprint sensors to peripheral devices provides an easy way to implement biometrics across the entire organization. With a quick fingerprint authentication on their mouse, keyboard, or docking station, employees can gain access to company networks, servers, confidential documents, and other materials behind a security wall.

Our engineers have been developing this technology, and in 2015 we announced our biometric security solution for gamers named IronVeil, a Synaptics fingerprint authentication solution which is being designed into multiple new PC peripheral products including the ThermalTake Gaming Mouse. It’s a high-performance mouse with a tiny area touch fingerprint sensor enabling swift online payments or in-app purchases in gaming applications.

Fingerprint sensors in peripherals that employees can use at their desks enable them to authenticate themselves without having to remember complex, ever-changing passwords. This provides more efficiency to employees, and IT department as well. IT departments will spend less time managing password policies and databases, and helping employees who have forgotten their passwords and been locked out of their PCs. With biometric security technology in place, employees can easily use their unique fingerprint IDs to access what they need, and IT departments can streamline their security measures. This is particularly important when you consider employees are increasingly taking the “bring your own” approach to computing and communications, whereby they opt to use their own personal notebook PCs and mobile devices at work.

Fingerprint-authentication technology in the workplace can be quite seamless. For example, fingerprint authentication is now compatible with Windows 10, and Synaptics enables OEMs to develop Windows 10-ready fingerprint authentication that supports Fast ID Online (FIDO) for corporate-provided devices, including smartphones, tablets and notebooks. With PC peripherals added to the mix, fingerprint authentication through Windows Hello and subsequent access to apps and online services through Microsoft Passport is far more convenient and secure than typing a password. Leveraging our biometrics technology further, Synaptics is working on a powerful yet affordable solution, targeted for later this year that plugs devices not already equipped with fingerprint sensors.

As I mentioned, securing the enterprise is no easy task. However, applying biometrics to IT security practices is a sure way to strengthen and simplify security management.

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