Gartner Research

Applying Biometrics for User Authentication

Published: 22 November 2013

ID: G00258371

Analyst(s): Anne Elizabeth Robins


Biometric technologies are becoming more pervasive and acceptable to users, especially through inclusion in mobile devices. IAM professionals need to understand how biometrics work, which ones to choose and how to integrate them into larger IAM and security systems.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • Biometric Fundamentals
    • Biometric Modalities
  • The Architecture of Biometric Systems
    • Core Components
    • Core Processes
  • Applications for Biometric Systems
    • Identification
    • Verification
    • Screening
  • Deployment Architecture Options
    • Localized Architecture
    • Distributed Architecture
    • Shared Processing Architecture
  • Performance of Biometric Systems
    • Matching Accuracy
    • Population Characteristics
    • System Throughput
    • Other Factors Affecting Performance
  • Securing Biometric Data
    • Confidentiality of Biometric Data
    • Integrity of Biometric Data
    • Availability of Biometric Data
    • Privacy of Biometric Data
  • Multimodal Biometric Systems
    • Increased Accessibility
    • Increased Accuracy and Performance
  • Biometrics in Multifactor Authentication Solutions
    • Biometrics Combined With "What You Have"
    • Biometrics Combined With "What You Know"
  • Selecting the Right Biometric Technology
    • Understand the Application
    • Choose the Right Modality
    • Understanding Throughput
    • Focus on the System, Not the Sensor
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Get User Buy-in
  • Understand the Statistics, and Design the System Around Them
  • Control the Sensor Environment
  • Prefer Attended Sensors
  • Design a Robust Backup System
  • Do Not Assume That Biometric Traits Are Secret
  • Pay Attention to Liveness
  • Protect Communications Against Spoofing
  • Educate and Train the Users
  • Test Before Going Live

The Details

  • Biometric Modalities
    • Most Common Modalities
    • Other Modalities
  • Compromising Biometric Systems
    • Attack Types
    • Attack Points
    • Liveness Detection
    • System and Technology Vulnerabilities

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