Multi-factor Authentication Solution Secures Access for 22K Employees

Driven by increasing compliance requirements and the need to implement a strong yet highly flexible multi-factor authentication solution, Finanz Informatik (FI) evaluated both smart card and biometric solutions. FI chose Crossmatch’s DigitalPersona authentication solution in order to give a choice for the different banks within the German savings bank finance group.

“We selected the DigitalPersona solution because it offers a complete package, including both adaptable software and high-performance fingerprint hardware,” – Product Manager for Strong Authentication, Finanz Informatik

DigitalPersona authentication offers one of the widest ranges of factors, including OTP, smart cards and biometrics, in an easy to use and implement package. For more on how Crossmatch and our German partner, MTRIX GmbH, addressed the security challenges for FI’s banks, download the case study or read it here:


Sparkasse Wolfach is one of many savings banks (Sparkassen) in Germany which increased the security of their IT operations with the support of MTRIX and Finanz Informatik by implementing the Crossmatch DigitalPersona multi-factor authentication solution. The employee system logon is no longer secured by only username and password, but additionally by fingerprint biometrics.

IT Challenge

As an IT service provider of the German Savings Banks Finance Group, Finanz Informatik (FI) is responsible for evaluating and providing suitable IT applications for saving banks, federal state banks and other group partners. Based on increasing requirements regarding the safety of sensitive data and IT systems of the saving banks, in 2009 FI searched for a strong authentication solution. They specifically looked for a solution that would increase the security of their Single Sign-On applications because auditing agencies were increasingly demanding the use of strong authentication.

Finanz Informatik Chooses DigitalPersona for Biometric Authentication

In order to give a choice for the different saving banks, FI looked at one solution based on smart cards and one based on biometrics. Soon the decision for biometric authentication was made. “We evaluated different biometric-centric authentication solutions and selected the DigitalPersona solution because it offers a complete package, including both adaptable software and high-performance fingerprint hardware,” said Ingo Neuhaus, Product Manager for Strong Authentication at FI. “In combination with the 3rd level and integration support, as well as the support for rollout and logistics by MTRIX, DigitalPersona presents an unbeatable solution.”

Sparkasse Wolfach Relies on Biometrics

In 2011, to meet the specifications of the Auditing Association of German Banks at an early stage, Sparkasse Wolfach, a savings bank located in Germany’s Black Forest with five departments and 84 bank employees, implemented the DigitalPersona strong authentication solution.

“We considered both methods offered by FI – biometrics and smart card – and evaluated the pros and cons,” said Joachim Hübner, Department Manager of Sparkasse Wolfach. “The easy implementation process, as well as the comfortable and user-friendly handling quickly convinced us of DigitalPersona‘s solution. Unlike the certificate of a smart card, a fingerprint does not expire. Also, you can’t forget your finger.”

Easy Rollout and Good Acceptance Among Employees

In July 2011, a test period with ten employees was started at Sparkasse Wolfach and by September rollout for all employees began. “The acceptance among our employees is very good,” Hübner states. “The project was fully completed in August 2012 and all employees are using the system. With assistance from Finanz Informatik and MTRIX, the system was also quickly set up for employees whose fingerprints are more difficult to capture.”

With the new DigitalPersona multi-factor authentication solution, the screen lock now can be quickly and conveniently activated by placing a finger on the fingerprint reader. To comply with the safety standards at the savings bank, both password and fingerprint are required for unlocking. “Today we use the DigitalPersona solution to secure logon to the Windows system according to the requirements of Secure IT-operations. It would be preferable for the future to secure also further applications with this solution” said Hübner.

As marketing lead for Crossmatch, John is actively involved in championing identity management and biometrics technology solutions. His involvement and fascination with leveraging technology to address unique business challenges began earlier in his career, as Product Manager for GE’s Imagination Breakthrough innovation, VeriWise, a satellite-based asset intelligence and tracking solution for the transportation industry. He later went on to run sales and marketing for Vectronix, Inc., a subsidiary of a Switzerland-based producer of electro-optic and north-finding devices for military and law enforcement applications. John currently serves on the Board of the International Biometrics & Identity Association (IBIA).

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