Will Biometrics Solve Security Issues for Law Firms?

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on June 28, 2016 12:58 PM

Law firms and other professional communities are becoming increasingly open to using biometrics for security purposes. There are obvious advantages to biometrics. If you're like most people, you are tasked with remembering a dozen or so passwords just to access your usual online accounts. There is proprietary software out there that can synchronize your accounts, but there is still some hassle involved.

Recently, a fair number of banks have implemented biometric technology to safeguard customer accounts. Will this be the long sought-after security panacea for law firms? Possibly, but we're still skeptical.

Mobile Biometrics in the Age of Data Breach

Already a handful of banks have programmed their mobile apps with fingerprint access technology. BoA, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo all now use this technology. Other fancy biometric tech includes retinal scans and voice recognition software.

In the age of the data breach, password security looks to many companies to be old hat. There are even rumblings that guarding critical information through the use of a password might be tantamount to negligence. And now that mobile devices allow companies to accurately and conveniently scan biometrics off their customers, it has become convenient to begin replacing traditional passwords with biometrics.

At the very least, the sentiment has shifted towards one that uses both passwords and biometrics -- something that would have been too costly to implement in the past. But soon, it could become an industry standard.

Still Hackable?

Industry execs reassure us that banks don't actually store people's fingerprints, but rather algorithms derived from fingerprints and other biometrics. This data will be stored in a data bank, FBI style. Boy, doesn't that fill you with confidence?

It seems that security companies have learned their lessons and have made access using biometrics a little but more complicated than a simple scan. Wells Fargo has been cooperating with Kansas startup EyeVerify. This scanning program requires the user to follow prompts with their eyes before access is given. Neat little trick.

The problem, of course, is that security is a constant battle between thieves and regular folks ... and thieves are very smart. According to some sources, cybercrime is now more profitable than the drug trade. And with that kind of money on the line, you can bet that enterprising crooks will find some way to give even biometrics users a run for their money.

It's likely that law firms will always be vulnerable to hackers, even with the best security technology in place. So, you should be sure that your firm has a data breach plan in place, just in case your new biometrics technology fails you.

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