PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire-In an effort to further secure member data and provide employees with quicker access to applications, Service Credit Union has upgraded to DigitalPersona Pro Enterprise software and U.are.U Fingerprint Readers.
"We had a huge problem with password management," said SCU CIO William Arnold. "Some employees had more that 17 usernames and passwords written down; we needed a proactive solution where IT could be involved."
With more than 600 employees, Service CU conducted a field survey visiting approximately 12 of its branches. The one common denominator identified as a problem was password management.
"We identified three or four possible solutions and the IT team watched webinars from different providers," said Arnold. "We were looking not only for the best solution but one that would mesh well with our current operating environment in our U.S. branches, in Germany and our backoffice."
The new solutions are providing Service CU staff with the required authentication solution to securely and easily access more than 100 applications and websites daily.
"This technology allows credit unions to relieve some of their pain points as it relates to security," said Mike Printz, vice president of worldwide sales at DigitalPersona. "In a broad sense, this technology is known a Single Sign On, and it doesn't have to be difficult to deploy."
How The Technology Works
The concept of eliminating keystroke username identification and authentication is realized with fingerprint biometrics, the science behind Digital Persona's offering.
"When we made the announcement that we were going to use this technology, the IT management team literally applauded," said Arnold.
Aside from streamlining employee access to applications, credit unions must adhere to regulations and oversight, including PCI Data Security Standard, which includes prevention, detection and appropriate reaction to security incidents.
Arnold said that while training is involved, the platform is "intuitive," with employees prompted to register through a desktop application that requires one log-in and password. Once they are registered, they are asked to place their finger over the reader.
"The biggest effort was getting people to understand that they needed to migrate from using their username and password to using their fingerprint to log into the various web services that we use," said Arnold.
Pritz said there is "no heavy lifting" when it comes to installing both the software and hardware. And while Arnold explained that there was skepticism about the durability of the hardware, the results differed.
"We read reports that these fingertip readers were not industrial grade and failed quickly," he said. "What we discovered is there is a simple fix for it, which is to keep the readers clean as people have oils on their skin. Employees' keyboards lock every time they walk away so they have to use the reader continually throughout the day and that is a lot of use, and a lot of oil builds up."
Of its 600 desktops receiving readers, Arnold said that only five have been replaced since the solution was launched.