Is Biometric Technology Worth the Cost?

The biometric technology market is estimated to grow to $68.6 billion by 2025, according to MarketsandMarkets. This growth can be attributed to the technology’s convenience, security, and scalability. But in spite of these benefits, this security technology can be costly.

What Is Biometric Technology?

Businesses often implement biometric technology for single-factor or multi-factor authentication purposes to ensure safe and secure access to networks and applications, among other things. Common biometric security implementations include fingerprinting, hand scanning, iris scanning, retina scanning, facial recognition, or voice recognition hardware and software.

How Much Does Biometric Security Cost?

A basic USB fingerprint scanner can cost as little as $20 per device. However, enterprises are more likely to need more sophisticated entry point security. “Prices for biometric access control systems range from a total of $2,500 to $10,000 per door when you factor in the biometric scanner, electronic locking system, software integration, and installation, according to VIZpin.

Higher adoption rates of biometric technology in general mean prices are likely to fall. In fact, they already have fallen. Ramped-up production due to increasing adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the price of many biometric access control systems.

Higher adoption rates mean prices are likely to fall.

Iris scanning, retina scanning, and facial recognition are the most expensive types to implement, followed by finger vein and voice recognition. Fingerprint recognition is the least expensive option in this space.

Each permutation of this technology comes with its own level of security, however. For instance, though iris scanning is among the most expensive types of biometric technology, it offers middling security. Retina scanning is the most secure.

Conversely, fingerprint scanning, though more cost efficient, offers relatively low security. Finger vein scanning devices are midrange in price, but offer high security. As such, finger vein scanning appears to be the current best bet, considering the cost-to-security ratio.

Read more: You Really Can’t Do Enough Security Training

Pros & Cons of Biometric Technology

Weigh the following factors as you consider implementing biometric technology into your business:

ProsCons
Convenient and fast to useHygiene concerns for touched surfaces
More secure than ID cards or passwords Potential for data breaches
Technology is constantly evolvingInvasiveness and privacy concerns
Falling pricesCurrently costly to implement

Biometric security is convenient, as humans often forget passwords and lose access cards. By removing the need for passwords, badges, or keys, biometrics is a more secure option for ensuring sensitive areas and information are only available to authorized users.

Because of the popularity of this technology, biometric security is consistently improving. Also, that popularity is steadily decreasing prices.

Despite these advantages, there are drawbacks to biometrics. Though prices have been sinking, biometric security is still not a cheap investment. Prices vary wildly by device, as each has a different type of sensor.

Investment in a more secure method of measurement is generally worth it.

Additionally, users’ unique biological features are sensitive information. Privacy and secure storage is therefore of utmost importance. Though the technology is relatively secure, there is always the potential for data breaches. Investment in a more secure method of measurement is generally worth it.

Lastly, some of these devices require frequent contact, which raises questions of hygiene. “Long-established solutions like touch-based fingerprint recognition represent a risk in the context of infection spreading,” read a recent Biometrics Institute report addressing industry concerns around COVID-19. Therefore, contactless biometric solutions should be considered.

Depending on your business’ size and operation, some biometrics devices may be more feasible than others. Take the above factors into consideration when deciding whether you should implement biometric security.

Read more: What is Adversarial Machine Learning?

Biometric Technology Trends

Here are some trends to watch out for as biometrics continues to evolve:

Ethical Concerns

As devices capture and store our physiological and behavioral data, questions of privacy and ethics will become increasingly important. Recent studies have exposed training biases in the AI used for voice and facial recognition software. Currently, the bio identifiers of many BIPOC, transgender, and nonbinary individuals are not reliably recognized by this software.

Read more: AI Software Trends for 2021

Behavioral Biometrics

Where traditional biometrics measures physical attributes, behavioral biometrics “identifies people according to how they interact with online applications and devices,” according to AI Business. Advances in machine learning, AI, and deep learning are allowing businesses to continually authenticate users using existing device sensors — such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and touchscreens.

Going forward, organizations and government agencies that work with sensitive information may find it useful to employ physical biometric security at access points, as well as behavioral biometrics on company devices.

Biometrics-as-a-Service

Cloud solutions in biometrics, or Biometrics-as-a-Service (BaaS), will make this technology even more affordable and convenient for businesses to adopt. It will also make this technology more scalable.

According to a MarketsandMarkets report, BaaS “delivers biometric onboarding and authentication capabilities on the cloud platform and eliminates the cost associated with the database, network, and storage components. The only hardware component required is the biometric capture device to capture the individual biometric input, which makes it easier for these solutions to be deployed.”

The third-party software market that supports biometric technology is expected to grow exponentially, as well. It will become increasingly imperative to make this technology compatible across different devices and operating systems.

Biometric Technology Is Here to Stay

Not only is biometric technology is here to stay, but it’s worth investing in. As more entities opt for biometric security, and as technology continues to improve, this is the way forward for both enterprise and consumer products.

There are many implementation options available, and they may be layered to offer multi-factor authentication. Finger vein scanning seems to offer the best cost-to-security ratio currently, but this industry is growing.

Read next: Why You Should Implement Zero Trust Security in 2021

Lauren Hansen
Lauren is originally from Chicago and enjoys learning new things. As a former academic, she is experienced in gathering, synthesizing, and disseminating information to others, so they can learn something new and make informed decisions. When she’s not writing, she’s practicing yoga or traveling.

Latest Articles