Many of us will have come back from the extended holiday period ready to start the New Year with a bang, only to realise that we’ve forgotten our computer password and can’t do anything until the IT department resets it.
It’s not just the fact that you’ve been out of the office for 10 days. By insisting on “strong” passwords, IT departments are increasingly lumbering us with passwords that need to be up to eight characters in length, must contain at least one capital letter
and number, have to be changed every few months – and can’t be re-used.
People try to get around this by writing their passwords down or creating new passwords that follow a pattern – for example, January2012 or February2012 – making them all too easy to guess. All of which of course his undermines the “strong” password concept.
Security procedures should of course be robust and reliable, but it is just as important for them to be workable and designed to suit users not IT department. Voice-based (biometric) authentication is a good alternative to passwords, and can play an important
part in a multi-layer authentication process. The human voice can’t be easily mimicked, nor can it be guessed, written down or forgotten like a password.
One of my forecasts for 2012 is that voice biometrics will begin to be much more used in other security procedures, for example when verifying a money transfer with your bank or an online purchase. It strikes just the right balance between being sufficiently
robust and practical, whether in an office or banking environment.