Cloud Authentication Month: 3 Applications of Biometrics And The Cloud

Authentication in the CloudCloud authentication has a number of situational benefits when it comes to bringing consistent stronger than password security to a wide range of devices. Here is a list of three areas in which cloud based biometrics can be applied.


Strong authentication enabled access control and time tracking in the workplace is becoming increasingly critical as mobility continues to promise greater efficiency through the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement. Employee workstations need to be secured, smartphones with work email access need to be locked down and doors mean to be kept shut need to stay that way.

Of course, every business has different security needs and operates in its own unique and nuanced way. Enter Biometrics as a Service solutions. Taking from the successful Software as a Service model, BaaS providers allow enterprises to add the factor of flexibility to their security. Work in an environment where hygiene is a concern? Pick a contactless factor like facial biometrics. Think fingerprints are more of a fit for your employees (maybe you employ a large number of bearded men)? That’s an option with BaaS too. Running a call center? Chances are a voice biometrics solution is up you alley.Think that a multifactor solution is best? Try a combination of all three.

The flexibility of BaaS solutions helps break down adoption barriers in biometrics. Since they are scalable, a customer also has the ability to find the solution that fits her budget.


On device authentication is the primary deployment in mobile biometric commerce right now. Mobile payment requires convenience and traffics in consumer privacy, so keeping all matching and transaction procedures inside of a secure element on a smartphone makes sense. With Apple Pay, for instance, the retailer doesn’t even have to know your name in order to accept payment.

But what about situations that operate within a higher risk profile? Transferring large amounts of money between bank accounts held with different banks, according to some industry experts, requires a high level of trust between the parties involved. As such, in the future some remote banking transactions may be authorized via biometrics matched behind a bank’s secure firewall using an algorithm of its choosing.

The benefits of this style of cloud-based authentication are apparent. When a smartphone authenticates on device and sends a positive signal to a relying party, the recipient needs to trust that the device has not been compromised and that its owner is who she claims to be. When authenticating on their own secure server, banks have the benefit of using only technology that they trust, bolstered by whatever enrollment precautions they are comfortable with.

Law Enforcement

Biometric databases can be stored on remote servers to allow mobility into law enforcement. Having mobile identification devices is a great boon in the field for officers of the law, allowing for biometric matching to replace an inefficient trip back to the station with a suspect when it might not even be needed.

A device like Cross Match’s new Verifier Sentry is a perfect example. While it does offer on-device matching, the Verifier Sentry  is also able to transmit fingerprints scanned with its FAP 30 rated sensor to a remote AFIS in order to be processed. This long distance match functionality is ideal for scanning unknown subjects in law enforcement and border control scenarios.

The long distance matching is facilitated by Commander: a mobile device management tool that allows for the secure transfer of data in addition to match request management.


Stay posted to Mobile ID World as we continue to celebrate Cloud Authentication Month. Have something to add about how the cloud and biometrics can work together? Follow us on Twitter and tweet using the hashtag #MIDWmonthly to keep the converation going.