Getting real about biometrics and the future of multi-factor authentication

There are a few topics that we can rely on to generate good-natured, (mostly) civil debate at KNOW every year. Biometrics – and the broader future of authentication – is one of them. Is facial recognition a better or worse authentication mechanism because a face is public? Is SMS-based two-factor authentication better than a password, or simply too vulnerable to fraud?

Basically, we collectively agree that the password – the original authentication mechanism – is a relic. We don’t agree on what to do about it. And we’ve never been known to shy away from a good argument.

KNOW Identity 2020 will come at a crucial crossroads for the future of authentication. By the conference next year, the Strong Customer Authentication mandate under the EU’s Revised Payments Directive (PSD2) will have been in effect for just a few months, making multi-factor authentication a legal mandate for a huge swath of digital transactions. When India initiated similar added authentication layers for customer-initiated transactions, some merchants saw abandonment plummet and conversions decrease by up to 25%

This year, we’ll be prioritizing the practical – opening our stage to speakers who have built stronger authentication flows that satisfy demand for positive user experience while consistently protecting accounts. Last year, Yubico and Netflix walked through their partnership in our best-attended session of 2019, and we look forward to highlighting the best new tools for mobile authentication, 2FA hardware, and more.

When it comes to biometrics, our focus this year will be on bringing more industry verticals into the KNOW Identity fold. Last year, Colleen Manaher of U.S. Customs and Border Protection talked about the plans her organization was already rolling out for biometrics at the border. This year, we’ll check in on the progress of privacy-preserving biometrics in travel, healthcare, hospitality, law enforcement, human resources, and beyond. These are huge new markets that have only relatively recently realized the pressing need for better authentication to satisfy mandates related to compliance, user retention, security, and revenue. We’re looking forward to introducing them to the thriving identity community, and facilitating new partnerships.

Want to show off your authentication innovation? Itching to meet a cutting-edge authentication provider for your business? Let us KNOW.