Biometric Authentication: Making e-Learning More Secure for Students & Universities

Before the COVID-19 wave hit the entire world and forced many governments to impose nationwide lockdowns, conventional classroom learning was the go-to education model for many educational institutes. Students going to a physical class and attending various lectures was how institutes ran their operations and conducted classes. 

However, with COVID-19 shutting down everything, these institutes had to switch to e-learning models to continue with their curriculums. According to a report generated by UNESCO, 98% of global students switched to online learning within the first few weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Even though online learning platforms were gaining gradual popularity in the pre-pandemic world, the global lockdown propelled this online transition. As a result, both instructors and students understood the benefits of online learning and started preferring this distant learning model over attending physical classes. 

Even today, when many countries are lifting up the COVID-19 curbs, a large number of educational institutes and students still want to continue with online learning. However, the biggest challenge with e-learning implementation is unattended security loopholes. Due to poor security infrastructure, online learning platforms are vulnerable to various cyberattacks. During the initial stages of the COVID-19 lockdown, there was a 25% increase in the weekly cyberattacks on ed-tech platforms. 

One of the ways to tackle these cyberattacks and make e-learning more secure is the incorporation of biometric authentication in e-learning platforms. As compared to traditional passwords, biometric authentication is more secure and can be used to implement multi-level authentication architecture. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of integrating biometric authentication in edtech solutions and how it might be the most effective solution to mitigate cyberthreats in the online education world. 

How Biometric Authentication is More Secure than Passwords?

To put it in simple words, traditional passwords are easier to crack, thanks to the modern IT infrastructure and advanced hacking scripts. Something as simple as a ‘Brute Force Attack’ can easily crack a text/number-based password. 

Fortunately, that’s not possible with biometric authentication. Each individual on this planet has exclusive biometric features. For instance, no two people can have the same fingerprints. It means unless the user doesn’t physically authenticate himself via a biometric scan, he won’t be authorized to access any information whatsoever.

This high security also makes it challenging for hackers to break into the system and steal any sensitive information. Biometric integration into a multi-layer security model can help administrators establish all-around security and keep their servers away from any cyber-attacks. This is probably the biggest reason why many industries have already switched to biometric authentication for security implementations. 

How Biometric Security Can Make e-Learning Platforms More Secure?

Biometric authentication works just like passwords. However, biometric authentication is more secure than the latter. With biometric authentication, humans can use their features such as the face, fingerprints, and voice to authenticate themselves. 

Unlike conventional passwords, which can be copied by anyone, biometric features are far more secure and give users peace of mind that their data is secured. Today, biometric authentication has already been adopted by many industries and it has become the go-to security mechanism along with conventional password-style infrastructures. When we’re talking about e-learning, biometric implementation can make huge leaps. 

For instance, IT administrators in an educational institute can use biometric authentication as the primary security mechanism for students and teachers to log into the server and access the desired course material. With biometric authentication, only authorized users will be able to gain access to the course material and the administration can stay assured that their institute’s sensitive information won’t get stolen whatsoever. 

Another implementation of biometric security in the edtech industry is making remote examination more transparent. As of today, conducting remote exams is the biggest challenge for many institutes and universities. 

Why? Because students have the option to cheat when they have to authenticate using a text-based password. Not to mention, they can simply ask anyone else to take the exam in their place and ace good grades without studying at all. 

Biometric authentication can help universities tackle this scenario, especially if it’s implemented along with multi-layer authentication. Since biometric data can’t be stolen – like a password – it eliminates any room for misconduct and makes remote examination fairer for all the students. 

How to Integrate Biometric Authentication in e-Learning Solution?

Now, when it comes to implementing biometric authentication in the ed-tech world, entrepreneurs have different options to choose from. You can either use biometric login as the primary (and only) security mechanism or establish a complete security bubble by amalgamating biometrics with other authentication methods like passwords. 

The only downside of integrating biometric authentication is its high maintenance. Since biometric data of students such as the face keep changing every year, mainly because they are in their growing stages. It means the IT administrators at your institute will have to constantly update their database to keep the latest student records. 

Not to mention, the integration of biometric authentication into an existing edtech infrastructure would be a bit challenging, mainly due to the high complexity. To do the job, you’ll have to work with a professional app developer with expertise in biometric integration. 

The developers must have worked across different projects that required biometric integration. This way you can stay assured that you’ll be able to launch your edtech solution on time and continue with the online learning model, but with better security features. 

The Bottom Line

From passwords to advanced biometric logins, technology has indeed transformed the entire world and pushed it towards a complete digital transformation. But, this has also triggered the growth of cyberattacks and opened up a variety of security loopholes, especially in industries like e-learning that still have a poor security infrastructure. Thanks to biometric authentication, however, e-learning platforms could be made more secure for students, teachers, and schools/universities. Biometric security can give colleges the opportunity to keep their e-learning education model up and running without worrying about security compromises. 

Author Bio:

Ranjit Singh is the founder and CEO at RV Technologies, leading mobile app development company. Ranjit started his journey as a technical programmer, but his quest to build innovative digital solutions resulted in the germination of RV Technologies in 2007. He has successfully completed more than 21 years in the software-development industry and, throughout this period, he has followed a consistent vision of helping businesses lead the digital landscape with innovative solutions. Apart from assisting business owners with digital transformation, Ranjit also enjoys penning his insights on various technical topics and sharing them with the world.