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The Fingerprint of Telephone Security

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Have you seen the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the newly released iPhone 5S?

This is the fingerprint scanning technology built into the Home button, which allows you to unlock you iPhone 5S, as well as make purchases through the App Store, without having to constantly re-enter your password.

In the technology world, the great battle of good vs. evil (we’ll leave that up to Google) takes a backseat to ease of usability vs. enterprise security.

The boom of data sharing enabled by today’s rapidly evolving technological enhancements has created an environment where secure exchanges are of paramount importance. It is safe to say that this has become a top priority for every enterprise operating with data packets as large-scale re-enactments of Willy Wonka’s Mike TV are transmitted all around us through cyberspace – not to mention the growing trend of BYOD.

Fingerprint scanners are not new – not even on mobile devices – but the technology has developed leaps and bounds in the past few years. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor is quite reliable and provides an enhanced barrier for entry into a stolen device. The existing four-digit pins are not highly secure and can be cracked quite easily. The new technology decodes the set fingerprint identifier with a sensor at a 500 ppi resolution.

We’ve all heard the warnings. For accounts, don’t use 12345 or Password. And even if you have a super stealth security code comprising letters, numbers, symbols, wizarding runes and a strand of your DNA, for all that is holy don’t use it for multiple sites. So when it comes to smart phones, it wasn’t a surprise when Apple noted that around 50 percent of smartphone users forego the passcode setup process. (It may even be safe to assume that another half of that data set only has the most basic four-digit code enabled because it’s the only way they’re able to download their corporate emails.)

Is it foolproof? No. But neither is a password. (For one, it’s much more difficult to guess a fingerprint than a four numbers in a random sequence.) But it is an additional part of your iPhone’s security system.

My favorite aspect of the sensor is the ability to have the same experience as native apps while not having to fumble with my passcode to unlock the phone, yet still without compromising security. If a call comes in on my ShoreTel Mobility, I can simply answer by pressing my fingerprint against the scanner. There is no need to fumble with a passcode.