The growing number of cyber threats and increasing level of competition amongst security service providers has consumers scratching their heads.

It is best to take a proactive and meticulous approach to technology investment say experts at Ideco Group, an established developer and supplier of biometric-based security infrastructure.
According to the company’s management, users have become generally more aware of threats to resources, particularly those that originate from within an organisation or company – otherwise known as insider fraud. Popularity of mobile applications and devices, along with social networking, has added fuel to the fire.
These specialists say research, such as PriceWaterhouse Coopers' (PWC) Global Economic Crime Survey and 2010 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, initiated by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, confirms that this threat is considered one of the fastest growing and most serious to organisations today.
They also point to research by the US Association of Certified Fraud Examiners which suggests that the direct cost of insider fraud to the bottom line is an estimated 5% of revenue, with global losses estimated at $2,9-trillion per annum.
“It is not surprising then that decision makers in business have had to adopt a proactive approach to protection of network infrastructure and information,” says Marius Coetzee, chief operations officer of Ideco Biometric Security Solutions, an established provider of solutions, services and support within the field of identity management.
This situation has resulted in more widespread use of smart cards, pin numbers and passwords to protect data and personal information in particular, says Coetzee.
“The problem with these measures is that they can be easily stolen, copied or manipulated. This means that anyone with intent can use the very technology and devices designed to protect, to actually gain access and commit crime. They are easily shared and used extensively as a platform by fraudsters,” he explains.
Another challenge with existing security technology is that they do not provide a legally-binding audit trail.
“So, there is no user authentication and no way of knowing who did what, when, where or how,” he adds. “This is where biometric-based technology, primarily in terms of fingerprint identification or sign-on, using fingerprint reader devices, has emerged as a serious alternative within the market,” he continues.
In addition to the fact that biometric-based infrastructure does provide an audit trail or identity chain, its core characteristic is that it works off the "uniqueness" of individuals. This means that organisations and companies can integrate and apply biometric fingerprint identification technology to control access to resources.
Since 2001, Ideco has assisted clients with the integration of biometric-based infrastructure. Management at the company say over 60,000 fingerprint readers are in use across South Africa, providing security within the workplace and effectively controlling access of more than two-million people on a daily basis.
Coetzee concedes that the quality and credibility of fingerprint reader technology will have an impact on end-user experience.
“There are as many solution providers in the market as there are solutions. Too many so-called ‘large biometric companies’ promise the world and disappear when support is required. Aside from the cost factor, there are many other considerations that must be taken into account when selecting infrastructure and service provider.
"Selection criteria should include reliability of systems, resources, knowledge, skills, accuracy, durability and level of after-sales support,” he adds.