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Banking on Security – One Finger at a Time: Best Practices for Biometric Security Solution Selection

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By Vance Bjorn co-founder and chief technology officer at DigitalPersona, Inc.

Financial institutions in the United States lose about $48 billion a year in identity-related fraud according to the Federal Trade Commission. Statistics such as this, coupled with today’s troubling economic climate, leave consumers questioning where they can add greater security to their finances as well as how they can keep their identities protected.  vance

The banking industry plays an important role in decreasing this emergence of doubt by implementing efficient and cost effective measures such as biometric security.  This best practices approach to user authentication not only ensures continued, excellent customer service, but provides an additional level of security that keeps customer data confidential and access safely managed.

Passwords – Still Sufficient For Your Needs?

From encryption to multi-factor authentication, banks are forced to provide and utilise various security solutions to secure their customer and company-sensitive information.  One thing all of these systems have in common is a reliance on the use of passwords, PINs or tokens for identity verification.

Now, you may think that passwords are sufficient in securing critical information, and in cases where effective password management and rotation are practiced, they often are.  However, how often are password management and rotation rules followed?  According to the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), 80 per cent of the security attacks they investigate are password related.  Why? Because we’re human and humans are fallible and predictable.  With the volume of accounts and applications bank employees access, this volume often leads to tellers using the same password across multiple applications and not rotating them on a consistent basis, making them susceptible to compromise.

Fingerprint Biometrics – An Answer to the Common Password Problem

Previously thought of as a “James Bond” approach to security, fingerprint biometrics are not only broadly available, they are the easiest and most cost effective method of biometrics.  A variety of vendors offer fingerprint authentication solutions that ensure the people accessing customer or company information are, in fact, who they say they are.  Passwords, PINs or tokens cannot provide this assurance as they are easily shared, stolen or mishandled.  A fingerprint, on the other hand, is something uniquely identifiable.  Other options for biometrics security include facial recognition, voice recognition or retinal scans.  While many of these options are not widely in use yet, all provide corporations with significant improvements over traditional password-based authentication.

Not only are biometrics a nice idea, but they are currently being used at banks throughout the world.  Some use the fingerprint systems at their brick and mortar locations to access company networks and applications, while others use fingerprint readers to authenticate wire transfers between financial institutions.
Although biometrics and the security provided by implementing this measure into your overall IT security strategy sounds great, how do you evaluate potential options and select a solution that meets your organisation’s needs and ROI requirements?  When selecting biometric security solutions for your organisation, it is crucial that you take a hard look at not only the biometric solution, but also the solution vendor.

Evaluation of the security vendor is extremely important as those considered should have a good track record within the banking industry, including a deep understanding of the industry’s needs.  Additionally, considered vendors should have a solution base that allows them to quickly adapt to future security threats, and utilise multiple forms of authentication credentials should they be required.

Best practices are emerging that can help you narrow down your choice of vendors.  It is important to first identify your organisation’s “must haves” and targeted users of the biometric solution.  Common questions for identifying these “must haves” include: Will employees and/or customers use these systems?  Does the solution’s platform integrate into the existing identity management infrastructure?  Is the solution easily modified should organisational needs change? Does the solution have immediate cost savings associated with the deployment?  How big of a factor is cost?

Impact on the Bottomline – Biometrics as an ROI and Business Driver

Finally, it is important to consider your organization’s return-on-investment (ROI) requirements.  For instance, it is estimated that 25 to 50 per cent of help desk calls are for password resets due to forgotten or compromised passwords, with each reset call carrying a price tag of $20 to $38.  However, this changes if a fingerprint authentication solution is deployed.  No reset is required and costs are reduced to zero — a fingerprint simply can’t be forgotten.

After all of these questions have been answered, and products have been identified, it is crucial that your organization follow-up with a product trial period to ensure that the solution matches the defined needs.  These steps will lead to implementation of the correct biometric solution for your organisation, significantly improving system security and ROI.

Identity theft security can have a significant impact on customer retention and acquisition, especially in these uncertain times.  Biometrics provide strong authentication and a fast ROI, making them a solution that every organisation can justify.  As consumers begin to re-evaluate their financial makeup, and decide on where to place their dollars, make sure your organization provides them with strong security features, and they will be sure to repay the favor with their loyalty.

_________________________________________________________

Vance Bjorn, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder
Vance Bjorn is responsible for guiding DigitalPersona partnerships, business development and technical strategy. Bjorn was awarded by the Department of Defense the prestigious National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) to pursue doctoral studies in Computer Science at MIT. Bjorn is also a recipient of the MIT Technology Review TR100, a national award for technology innovators under age 35. He holds a B.S. degree with honors in Engineering and Applied Science and an M.S. degree in Computation and Neural Systems from the California Institute of Technology.

About DigitalPersona
DigitalPersona, Inc. is a global provider of strong authentication and access management solutions that close the gap between people and security for enterprises, government agencies and commercial embedded-solution developers. DigitalPersona’s authentication and access management software is shipped by computer manufacturers on millions of notebooks and desktop computers per year; its cloud- and Active Directory-managed solutions multi-factor/strong authentication, single sign-on (SSO) password management and emergency access recovery simplify compliance and cut IT costs. The company’s fingerprint biometrics technology helps organisations prevent fraud and increase accountability; it is incorporated into multiple national voting systems, almost all brands of biometrically-enabled point-of-sale (POS) stations, as well as many commercial applications in the retail, healthcare, and financial industries. For more information contact DigitalPersona, Inc. at: +1 650.474.4000, or visit www.digitalpersona.com.

© 2012 DigitalPersona, Inc. All rights reserved. DigitalPersona® and U.are.U® are trademarks of DigitalPersona, Inc. registered in the United States and other countries. Microsoft and Active Directory are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.Citrix and XenApps are trademarks of Citrix Systems, Inc. and/or one or more of its subsidiaries, and may be registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries.  All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.This information should not be relied upon as legal advice.  DigitalPersona specifically disclaims all warranties of any kind, express or implied.  Users must take full responsibility for their application of any products or compliance with any legal requirements.

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86% of UK businesses face barriers developing digital skills in procurement

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86% of UK businesses face barriers developing digital skills in procurement 1

A shortage of digitally savvy talent, and a lack of training for technical and soft skills, hinder digital procurement initiative

Research from Ivalua, a leading provider of global spend management cloud solutions, has shown that a majority of UK businesses (86%) face significant barriers developing digital skills in procurement. The findings reveal that a shortage of digitally savvy talent (31%), a lack of training for technical and soft skills (28%) and a lack of understanding of the skills required (13%), are some of the main barriers preventing UK business from developing the digital skills they need. Additionally, over half (55%) of UK businesses say that digital skills in procurement are less advanced compared to other departments

The research, conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Ivalua, surveyed 200 UK-based procurement, supply chain and finance professionals about the true nature of digital skills within procurement, and the challenges businesses looking to digitally transform will face. More than eight-in-ten (84%) UK businesses believe that the skill set required of procurement professionals has shifted from procurement-first to digital-first. The study also highlighted that most respondents believe that greater digitalisation (84%) and better digital skills (83%) in procurement would have enabled UK businesses to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak more effectively.

“Over the last decade, the role of procurement has transformed from one of cost-cutter to a vital ally that can help inform and enable a business’s strategy. The global COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend even further, reinforcing the importance of procurement as businesses adapt to the new normal,” commented Alex Saric, smart procurement expert at Ivalua. “However, for too long, procurement has been seen as a digital laggard, with technology adoption trailing behind other departments. In order to keep its seat at the table in strategic discussions, procurement must ensure it has people with the right skills in-house, as well as easy to use technologies, or risk being unable to offer significant strategic value.”

Challenges in hiring digital skills in procurement

As part of ongoing digital transformation efforts in procurement, the report found that UK businesses have started to introduce new technologies such as data analytics (55%), cloud-based platforms (53%), automation (35%) and AI/machine learning (30%) in the last 12 months.

But when it comes to deploying these technologies, UK businesses are finding it difficult to complement them with the digital skills required. The study found that 88% find it challenging to hire the right digital skills to work with technologies such as AI, cloud-based platforms or data analytics, while 76% say they are concerned that existing procurement teams will struggle to work with new technologies. Developing digital skills is vital for businesses, as 91% of respondents say that improving digital skills can make procurement more strategic, while 94% say it will help them gain a competitive advantage.

“In a rapidly evolving business environment, digital skills are essential for procurement teams to analyse and mitigate risk, identify new opportunities and collaborate with suppliers. However, procurement teams are struggling to both attract digital talent and upskill existing teams, which puts them at risk of falling behind competitors, losing market share, and struggling to identify risk and opportunities ahead of time,” comments Saric.

“To address the digital skills gap in procurement, UK businesses need to ensure they are focusing on adopting tools that are easy to use and improve access to actionable insights. By making procurement smarter, businesses are giving teams the tools and skills needed to thrive in the new normal, allowing the business to react and proactively address the shifting sands of a post-COVID world.”

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The importance of app-based commerce to hospitality in the new normal

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The importance of app-based commerce to hospitality in the new normal 2

By Jeremy Nicholds CEO, Judopay

As society adapts to the rapidly changing “new normal” of working and socialising, many businesses are working tirelessly to ensure that they have all the necessary safety precautions in place to keep trading. One such sector is hospitality, but the way it typically operates now looks very different to what we were used to seeing prior to the pandemic.

Many pubs, restaurants and other hospitality establishments have now been open for a few months since lockdown, providing much relief and enjoyment to many consumers, as well as getting many employees back into work. However, a core component for businesses to maintain trading in these times is to ensure the crucial safety of staff and customers.

Payments are playing an important role in this and we’re seeing payment technology being implemented in new and unique ways to help make the hospitality sector as safe as possible. One such technology is app-based commerce, which allows businesses to interact with customers in ways that minimises physical contact whilst crucially still enabling engagement.

With table service now mandatory and Test and Trace measures continuing, we’re likely to see this technology being increasingly adopted in the months and years ahead. So, let’s take a look at what its use means for the hospitality industry and beyond and how it lines up with the government’s latest advice for businesses within the sector.

Understanding government guidance

Guidance issued from the UK government expands upon advice already offered by the Prime Minister to the hospitality sector, at the point of reopening back in July. It has been stated that all indoor hospitality is limited to table-service, interaction between staff and customers should be minimised as much as possible, masks are being enforced for indoor hospitality staff and the rule around groups of 6 continues.

At the same time, businesses now have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace by collecting names and contact details from customers so they can be reached if a customer/worker tests positive. This is a recent mandatory move having previously been guidance.

What’s more, it’s recognised that payments are a practical tool to help companies adhere to these guidelines. Throughout the pandemic it has emphasised that contactless payments are useful for reducing human interaction and touch points – such as PIN pads.

Early on, we saw the payment industry increase the authentication limit for contactless spending limit from £30 to £45 to help reduce cash purchases, cash machines and PIN pad usage. The Government are strongly encouraging the use of contactless payments in the hospitality sector, however, there’s a big part of the solution that they may have overlooked that can help hospitality businesses meet these guidelines with even greater ease – app-based commerce.

Why use apps?

Jeremy Nicholds

Jeremy Nicholds

Apps provide a whole host of benefits and are the perfect tool for not only minimising contact, but also ensuring customers are contactable at a later date, if needs be.

While contactless payments eliminate the need for customers to pay using cash, or touch PIN pads, apps can remove physical human interaction at the point of sale altogether. This is because they enable customers to pay ahead or at the table, meaning they don’t need to leave their seats or regularly interact with staff.  And done well they can even be a boost for business, enabling more convenient transactions and higher levels of repeat purchase.

When it comes to ensuring that customers are contactable, apps and e-wallets have a real advantage over traditional card-based transactions and anonymous cash payments. They allow companies to retain details about who has attended an establishment at a given time, enabling them to know whether a customer was present while a person known to be carrying the virus was in the vicinity.  The communication advantages of apps also allow establishments to manage their footfall and customer flow.

The role of app-based commerce in the new normal

Apps will become more and more important for all types of businesses, as consumers shift their behaviour towards digital.  They represent a new ‘real estate’ for retail and other businesses to manage – to present their brand in the right way, to engage customers and drive transactions.

Recently, we’ve seen Apple support this move towards app-based commerce with the launch of App Clips, further bolstering its use as we emerge from lockdown and encouraging safer and hygienic ways to pay.

App Clips are a great way for consumers to quickly access and experience what an app has to offer. They are fast and lightweight so a user can open them quickly and start and finish an experience from an app in seconds. And when they’re done, the business can offer the opportunity to download the full app from the App Store.

We are also seeing a number of hospitality businesses warming towards the use of app-based commerce and doing a great job of implementing it. The technology has already become central to the safe trading operations of big names in the industry such as Caffè Nero and The Young’s Pub, which are great examples of how to make apps work for your business.

As the industry steadily navigates its way through a new normal of operating, we expect that app-based commerce will skyrocket. In fact, we’ve already seen a great number of businesses throughout different industries expressing interest in the payment method, suggesting that it will play a pivotal role in moving forward. It certainly is a great way for businesses to keep staff and customers safe.

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Why the FemTech sector might be the sustainability saviour we have been waiting for

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Why the FemTech sector might be the sustainability saviour we have been waiting for 3

By Kristy Chong, CEO & Founder Modibodi ®

Taking single use plastics out of circulation is no easy feat, but the answer might lie closer than we think

FemTech: The Beginnings 

The term FemTech was initially coined to describe the powerful offering from tech start-ups as they ventured into developing revolutionary products centred around women’s health needs. Whilst the beginnings were humble, we have seen a whole host of innovations enter the market which have changed the game for women and business leaders around the globe.

Fast forward to 2020, FemTech is an industry predicted to be worth $50 billion by 2025 [1]and a powerhouse that is not just tackling women’s health issues but also helping to solve major environmental and sustainability crisis that we face today.

The fearless female entrepreneurs have founded and grown businesses that are continuing to help women across the globe deal with issues such as fertility, periods, sexual wellness, pregnancy and many others. And the best is yet to come.

It is a Man’s World

Traditionally, both technology and medical sectors have been very slow in tackling women’s issues and notoriously lagged in developing products and tools that address issues predominantly affecting women. Whilst figures show that women spend 29%[2] more on healthcare than men, only 4% of overall R&D funding goes towards developing products for the women’s sector[3] therefore the market is ripe for disruption.

As a woman, a mother and entrepreneur I knew that like many others I had to take matters into my own hands.

Following an incident with incontinence whilst training for a marathon in 2011 after the birth of my second child, I recognised the need to innovate apparel that offered a dignified, supportive and sustainable solution for women to manage leaks from periods, incontinence and everything in between. After two years of product development and over  1000 scientific tests, I founded Modibodi in 2013 with a long term view of breaking taboos, opening minds and offering a reusable, sustainable option for sanitary products that’s not just for women – but for the benefit of all bodies on this planet and the environment too. Now, we’ve expanded on that notion to support all people, including men who suffer incontinence, sweating and chafing, providing them with a reusable, sustainable option with our Modibodi Men range.

As you can imagine, this was far from simple not just due to tech and business sectors being notoriously dominated by men, with figures showing that 98% of VC funding goes towards male founded products[4] but also because we were not just selling a new brand of lipstick or gym-wear, we had created a whole new product category based on talking about things that made people and retailers uncomfortable.

As a social advocate for women’s health issues and rights I knew that I needed to persevere because the amalgamation between technology and feminism is a major force of social change and one that can have wide scale impact on our world.

The Sustainability Story

The sustainability agenda has really taken off in the last couple of years, especially in our war against single use plastic.  But it occurred to me very early on that we are not doing enough and there are still areas that need urgent review.

Very early on in the development stage of Modibodi I knew that sustainable sanitary products could be a game changer in eliminating single use plastics from circulation and whilst the world and respective governments were focusing on plastic straws, I felt the change needed to come from numerous angles and streams of consumerism.

The proof of concept was starring us right in the face, the average woman uses an average of 11,000 disposable feminine hygiene products in her lifetime and these convenient products come with an inconvenient environmental cost. They take 500 to 800 years to biodegrade, which means the first ever tampon and pad is still in landfill. Even more alarmingly, 8% of all waste that enters water treatment works comes from period waste, including non-flushable items such as pantyliners[5].

This is why I believe that the revolutionary innovations that are born out of the FemTech sector have capabilities to be one of the key drivers of the sustainability agenda. There is something remarkably special about a group of purpose driven businesses that can connect with consumers through a collective set of values to drive change and be a force for good.

What’s Next?

As most purpose driven business leaders will tell you, the fight never stops as the world evolves and continues to change. The sheer growth in the FemTech sector and the capabilities developed to date have changed millions of lives around the globe.

As an industry and a movement, we’ve also managed to play our part in driving the sustainability agenda and I will argue that actually the wide scale change and unity needed to continue making strides in eradicating single use plastic from our circulation will come from within the powerhouse that is FemTech.

The sheer capacity for change can be easily demonstrated if we look at the granular data and its potential for growth. If just 100,000 young girls use Modibodi alone from the start of their menstrual cycle, this would prevent 1.1 billion disposable hygiene products from ending up in landfill or 1.5 million garbage bags of waste. As of May 2020, our global base of 500,000 customers alone have prevented an estimated 2.5 million garbage bags of disposable hygiene waste from ending up in landfill or flushed into the ocean.

With the FemTech industry growing at a racing speed, I have no doubt that we are at the tipping point of pioneering wave of inventions that will take the agenda further and have the capacity and means to lead the movement. It is up to the trade organisations and world leaders to recognise the potential that such businesses and brands carry in order help to facilitate its growth trajectory.

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