Daon’s Anti-Password Mission

Daon: Consumers Want Biometrics NowLast week at the Global Identity Summit (GIS) in Tampa Florida, experts took to the stage to speak on the topic of identity in the financial sector. What emerged from the discussion was further confirmation that convenience is a major driving factor in the adoption of strong authentication technologies in finance, and that the consumer demand for biometrics is high.

The panel, titled “Global Commerce: The Importance of Identity within the Financial Services Sector” was moderated by Abbie Barbir, Senior Security Advisor, AIS Security Innovation Group at AETNA and was comprised of big names in financial services and biometrics including Conor White, President, Americas, at Daon.

Daon, as we’ve reported extensively on FindBiometrics, is the company behind the strong authentication featured on USAA’s mobile banking app. The mobile app allows users to authenticate using voice, face or fingerprint biometrics, and the strong authentication feature has been met with enthusiasm by the bank’s user base.

Speaking during the panel, White underlined the two big factors in financial biometrics, convenience and security, the latter for which he made a convincing business case. Telling an anecdote about a time his son racked up $666 in AppStore purchases on an Apple Device, White pointed to a security compromise nightmare that many can relate to.

“That is a business case for biometrics,” said White. “Because my son can read a PIN or password over a shoulder, not realize what he’s doing, and all of a sudden we’re in the hole for $666… But he wouldn’t be able to impersonate me biometrically, my face, my fingerprint or my voice.”

He went on to explain Daon’s anti-password mission.

“We’re all about convenience and making it easy for people to do business. And passwords are hard. They’re hard to do, they’re hard to remember, they’re static, they’re easy to compromise. I ask people if they’re defined by their password and everybody says no. Then I say, ‘give it to me and I’ll redefine you online in 20 minutes.’”

The paradigm described by White is a powerful one that sheds light on a disconnect between the average online user and her digital identity. Because a password is simply something we know, and because it is so unintuitive to use, we don’t naturally make the association between it and our online persona. Biometrics, on the other hand, have identity built right in. It is easy to understand, when your face, voice or fingerprint grants you access, that your protected accounts online are a part of who you are.

What’s more is that biometric technology has become incredibly accessible. Adoption is simple thanks to increased proliferation. Apple, Samsung and Google have made it clear that biometrics are the next step in digital identity.

“We finally have the infrastructure for this now, where consumers are very willing, and if you’re not sure about that take a look around and see how many people have an iPhone 6 or 5s. To me, the consumers are speaking,” White concluded, “They want biometrics and they want it as soon as we can give it to them.”

(Originally posted on FindBiometrics)