Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the educational sector has seen drastic changes. Online learning took a leap and learning in a physical classroom disappeared across the world. As students get accustomed to this “new normal”, a hybrid learning approach is expected to remain. Biometric technology could help the education sector in meeting the increasingly complex security needs that have arisen from this ongoing transformation.
Remote learning is nothing new, however since 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak and the consequent lockdown, there has been a quantum leap as the education industry was forced to adapt to learning at home and create a new sort of worldwide standard.
As life is slowly coming back to a new kind of normal at a global scale, many institutions in the Education Services sector are embracing a hybrid system combining physical and remote presence in classes. The need for security solutions that guarantee the protection and privacy of student’s data is therefore a new need and an absolute must.
Especially as the education industry has become a central target for cybercriminals.
The reason being that educational institutions store a large amount of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) required for everyday operation.
According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach report, in the period 2020-2021 in the U.S. alone, there were 1,332 incidents, 344 with confirmed data disclosure.
With that being said, educational institutions usually have limited resources to secure their network. These are complex structures that need to grant access to faculty, staff, students, and parents to several facilities and services.
All of these make it difficult to spot vulnerabilities and identify alien actors infiltrated in the network.
The biometric approach
In this context, biometrics could enable the education sector to meet the increasingly complex needs of faculty, staff, students, and parents, during this current transformation.
One of our company’s goals is to eliminate identity theft fraud by unequivocally identifying individuals. For this we have developed an identification protocol that offers the maximum guarantees of protection and privacy of the user’s data.
An Identification as a Service (IDaaS) passwordless solution that uses the biometric recognition capabilities provided by mobile devices to reliably identify people to access all platforms, enabling an optimal user experience.
These kinds of systems are proving useful for the Educational Industry around the globe. Not only do they reduce the threats attached to passwords that can be easily misplaced, robbed, or forgotten (studies reveal that 65% of us reuse our passwords across multiple accounts), but also allow improved security.
Some applications in the Educational Industry
In addition to procuring a secure environment by unequivocally identifying students, teachers and staff using their biometric patterns, this kind of technology offers several applications for schools and higher education institutions.
Tracking attendance. Using fingerprints, for example, is a way to track students’ attendance to classes. Once they have loaded their biometric pattern on the app installed on their devices, their unique fingerprints become the key. Then, they just need to place their finger on a scanner and the institution will immediately know they are on the premises.
Tracking use of facilities. Biometric authentication allows to track any student’s use of facilities such as the library, the gym, or the cafeteria, as well as access to computers and printers. It also enables teachers to know which student has taken what books from the library offering the possibility to follow up on the student’s learning process.
E-evaluation. As online or hybrid learning is becoming more popular, exams have moved from being taken in-person to an at-home assessment. Truly verifying the identity of the person taking the exam is critical for educational institutions.
Improving enrollment processes and paperwork. Human error is one of the major contributing factors to the majority of cyber security breaches. According to the IBM Cyber Security Intelligence Index Report, 95% of cyber security breaches are primarily caused by human error. Biometrics allows to reduce human error as well as paperwork and improves the student’s enrollment process avoiding duplicity of records, files and data.
Miguel is General Manager of BFY. He has more than 21 years of professional experience in the technology field, and for the last 14 years he has been in leadership positions in software manufacturing companies, which have been in a process of rapid growth.