Many organizations use passwords as their authentication mechanism, but a recent survey suggests that they might not be so confident about their reliance on this approach. Of the IT and security professionals surveyed, 73 percent said that password security has become a bigger concern to their organization in the last year. The survey was conducted by Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and DigitalPersona, which provides fingerprint authentication systems.

Amr Assal, senior product marketing manager at DigitalPersona, said his company wanted to find out what's on consumers' minds in terms of security and authentication. Of those surveyed, 60 percent said that they or someone they knew in their company had shared a network password with a colleague. Eighty-three percent said that compliance with government regulations is important, but fewer than half had a security system or policy in place to create an electronic audit trail. Top security priorities this year were security measures that combine ease of use and increased productivity (cited by 32 percent) and regulatory compliance (29 percent).

Assal sees an opportunity here for DigitalPersona's enterprise end-to-end fingerprint solutions. Unlike passwords and smart cards, a fingerprint can't be shared with another individual. DigitalPersona can log all actions initiated with a fingerprint, such as accessing networked computers and password-protected applications and Web sites, and report on them to comply with federal and other regulations that require an audit trail. And Assal explained that DigitalPersona's solution can work with many of the fingerprint readers that companies might already have in laptops and with existing password-based authentication solutions (the DigitalPersona system leverages the existing password fields to enter fingerprint authentication information). So DigitalPersona lets companies take advantage of and integrate with authentication solutions they already have and helps companies build on these solutions.

For more information about the survey and DigitalPersona's solution, go to http://www.digitalpersona.com.