IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

Biometrics solving security challenges of remote and flexible working

By Shannon Williams
Tue 6 Jul 2021

Organisations are being encouraged to look at biometric technology tp help manage security issues raised by the increase in flexible working arrangements.

"The modern employee’s daily life is powered by numerous technologies. PCs, smartphones, dongles, USB sticks and several cloud-based enterprise applications are all at the heart of today’s working world," says Maria Pihlstrm, senior global marketing manager at Fingerprints.

"As work becomes more agile, these technologies are a vital bridge to ensuring flexibility and business continuity. But corporate data needs to be protected regardless of where or when an employee is working," she says.

Pihlstrm says biometric technology is already enabling smarter physical and logical access, and could be the solution businesses need to empower their staff with robust yet convenient security, even when they are working from anywhere.

The security challenges of remote and flexible working

Having grown by nearly 140% since 2005, more businesses and employees recognise the benefits of remote and flexible working. Many corporate giants now champion a hybrid office/remote work model – but how can they maintain security and privacy just as effectively with a distributed workforce?

"April 2021 was a record month for cyberattacks and data breaches, with 143 known incidents breaching an unprecedented 1 billion records." says Pihlstrm.

"Legislation such as Europe’s GDPR means security and privacy represent a significant commercial pressure-point. Businesses cannot take their eye off the ball with security. However, maintaining seamless security across a distributed and flexible workforce poses numerous complexities."

Pihlstrm says WFA in shared environments such as at home with roommates, in activity-based offices, co-working spaces, or even cafes comes with an increased risk of stolen passwords and PINs through ‘shoulder surfing’. 

"This is a significant concern given more than 60% of hacking incidents involve stolen credentials. The risks surrounding employees leaving devices unlocked in public spaces or losing data storage devices that don’t have embedded security also grows outside of the office," she says.

"Furthermore, as remote workers are often using less secure internet connections, the need for stronger authentication increases."

Flexible working is also seeing fixed office hours softened. 

"So, employers need a way to protect their office effectively while still allowing employee access at their convenience," Pihlstrm says.

The password problem

According to Fingerprints, balancing security with convenience means that traditional methods such as PINs and passwords are no longer fit for purpose. 

"Today, 60% of consumers feel that they have too many passwords to remember. Some have in excess of 85 for all their professional and personal accounts, and maintaining these in line with differing complexity requirements is an uncomfortable prospect for many," says Pihlstrm.

"Consequently, many simply re-use the same password or inject minor variations – a sin 41% are apparently guilty of."

Pihlstrm says security should not be a burden for employees, nor should it present additional worries for employers. 

"Instead, it should empower workers to be productive yet secure, putting employers at ease," she says.

Biometrics - smarter security wherever and whenever you work

Through biometrics, employees become the key to their remote workplace security on a range of devices and access points including laptops, PCs, access pads and fobs, Pihlstrm says.

"Whereas a PIN or password can be forgotten, biometrics cannot. As biometric technology only gives access to authorised users, is difficult to steal and spoof and does not allow scalable attacks it reduces the risk of hacks and breaches through stolen credentials, lost devices, or poorly secured non-enterprise networks," she explains.

"Biometric technology used in smart locks or smart cards can simplify physical access control for flexible working too," Pihlstrm adds.

"With only authorised users granted access, businesses have peace of mind that it is only their employees on site, regardless of the time they find themselves working."

Biometrics are already the de-facto authentication method in smartphones and are a familiar feature in PCs and smart homes. According to Fingerprints, this makes integrating biometrics for physical and logical access at work a golden opportunity.

"To simplify integration, employers can turn to solutions that use on-device biometric data storage," says Pihlstrm.

"With these solutions, the biometric data is stored, matched and authenticated securely within the device, removing the costly administrative burden of creating, maintaining and protecting a central database," she says.

"This makes biometrics easier to implement for employers while ensuring employee privacy, reassuring the 38% of consumers who have concerns about centralised biometric data."

Employee & employer trust with biometrics

"By removing the reliance on passwords and PINs, biometric technology becomes the security pillar that can overcome worries employers may have with flexible and remote working," Pihlstrm says.

"In the long term, many businesses will support their employees with WFA, but they must ensure that they are not exposing themselves to greater risk. 

"Biometrics creates high levels of trust between employees and employers. Trust that they are securing their corporate devices when being used remotely; that if they lose their devices the data cannot be accessed; and that they can access their workplace information at their convenience," she says.

"Through biometrics, and the simplified, convenient and secure environment it creates, employees are empowered to be just as productive wherever and whenever they choose to work."

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
SaaS
Rubrik Security Cloud marks 'next frontier' in cybersecurity
"The next frontier in cybersecurity pairs the investments in infrastructure security with data security giving companies security from the point of data."
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
CRM
Zendesk announces new conversational CRM solutions
“The last few years have made it obvious that digital is the front door, convenience is paramount and relationships are anchored in conversations."
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
trust
9/10 Aussies to stop spending if personal data compromised
"Based on the patterns we are seeing among Australian consumers, it is evident that trust in a brand is exceptionally important."
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Lightspeed
Lightspeed launches all-in-one marketing platform in A/NZ
ECommerce provider, Lightspeed has launched a new all-in-one marketing solution, Lightspeed Marketing & Loyalty in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Wireless
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Infoblox's State of Security Report spotlights Australian remote work hazards
Attackers exploit weak WiFi, remote endpoints, and the cloud, costing 50% of organisations over $1.3 million in breach damages.
Story image
Data solutions
South Australia state satellite makes significant progress
South Australia’s first state satellite has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR), moving it closer to providing tangible data solutions.
Story image
Sustainability
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Softiron
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Broadband
Telstra enters into new RSP agreement with Opticomm
Telstra has entered into an RSP agreement with Opticomm (A Uniti Group Limited subsidiary) to provide network fibre services to customers.
Story image
Apple
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Sustainability
Legrand unveils Nexpand, a data center cabinet platform
Legrand has unveiled a new data center cabinet platform, Nexpand, to offer the necessary scalability and future-proof architecture for digital transformation.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Excel
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
ChildFund
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
Apricorn
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Sustainability
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Manufacturing
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Attain
Revenue operations is taking centre stage
As the business world continues to evolve, new demands need to be met to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. 
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Digital Transformation
Pluralsight and Ingram Micro Cloud team up on cloud initiative
Pluralsight has teamed with Ingram Micro Cloud to build upon cloud competence and maturity internally, and externally support partners’ capabilities.
Story image
Sisense
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.