Smartphones to Get Biometric Identity Platform for Mobile Security

Enterprises concerned about smartphone security will soon have a new option: biometric fingerprint recognition. While few smartphones have built-in fingerprint recognition today (Samsung's LG eXpo may be the only one in the U.S.), many more are likely to add the feature, particularly for devices used primarily for business.

The reason is a growing concern in the enterprise about how to protect sensitive data on smartphones in the event they're lost or stolen. ABI Research recently predicted mobile banking and person-to-person payments will be authenticated by fingerprint sensors on the handset and noted enhanced mobile security features are needed in many industries subject to compliance regulations.

Enter BIO-Key International, which plans to unveil its first mobile biometric identification and authentication platform designed for enterprises later this month at the Burton Group Catalyst conference.

BIO-Key partner Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) will be on hand to show how it works with the database giant's identity and authentication software. Oracle is one of several big IT providers incorporating BIO-Key's offering. Others include CA and IBM.

"The fact that BIO-key's software is interoperable with numerous fingerprint readers is an important feature for Oracle because it enables enterprises to more easily establish identity remotely on a variety of devices -- from laptops to tablets to cell phones," Darren Calman, director of product management for Oracle's Identity & Access Management group, said in a statement. "Software that can enroll, identify and verify mobile users is critical to our customers with today's work force."

Randy Fodero, senior vice president of sales at BIO-Key, said the company is agnostic to operating systems and different makers of fingerprint sensors.

"We support about 40 different sensors packaged in about a hundred different ways," Fodero told InternetNews.com. "The typical fingerprint reader application has been lowest common denominator access to the device, but you still have to worry about applications. What if someone leaves the device on in the back of a cab? Smartphones increasingly have access to critical information."

Larry Ciaccia, president of AuthenTec, said over ten million phones already have his company's fingerprint reader as part of the device.

"Cell phone manufacturers recognize that passwords and PIN codes are not sufficient to secure a cell phone user's personal data or provide secure access to company networks and servers," Ciaccia said in a statement.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


smartphones, identity management, mobile security, fingerprint readers