Apple iPhone Fingerprint Scanner Could Lift Authentication Market

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Apple is solving the problem of adoption, but the issues are much more complex, Gartner's Litan said. Banks and other online services require additional measures to establish the identity of users attempting to access their accounts, she said.

"There's still a huge enrollment issue because Apple only needs to authenticate users to their device or iTunes, which is much different than what a bank's requirement for online banking," Litan said.

Solution providers told CRN they are also optimistic that Apple's announcement could prompt a greater interest in authentication products. Businesses have been trying to address password concerns with multifactor authentication and device security with mobile device management components, said Bob Breitman, president of Bingham Farms, Mich.-based solution provider IT That Works-Midwest.

"This is the right move because devices are more personal than laptops and desktops," Breitman said. "Assuming it's easy to enroll a fingerprint and works as promised, it may open up new opportunities for the channel."

Consistency in the implementation of the fingerprinting technology is important, said Randolph Carnegie, president of Chicago-based consultancy and solution provider Ken-Kor Consulting. Users may still need to use a username and password for using iTunes on their laptop and that could lead to confused users, Carnegie said. "What they're doing is adding to the mix of ways we have to authenticate the identity of individuals, which could add complexity, and that often leads to security issues," Carnegie said. "This is a way to get this technology initially in the hands of the consumers, but for now, I don't see everything being reduced to fingerprint authentication."


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