Sparkasse Wolfach is one of numerous savings banks in Germany that, with the help of Finanz Informatik and MTRIX GmbH, have made their IT operations more secure by introducing Crossmatch’s DigitalPersona fingerprint solution: The system logon of employees is no longer secured only by user name and password, but additionally by a fingerprint.
The Sparkasse Wolfach is one of many savings banks in Germany which made their IT operations more secure by introducing the DigitalPersona fingerprint solution from Crossmatch. System registration by employees is no longer protected by just a user name and password, but by fingerprint scanning too.
As an IT service provider for the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe (German financial group of savings banks), one of the missions of Finanz Informatik has been to evaluate suitable IT applications and make them available to savings banks. In 2009, FI started looking for solutions in strong authentication to address the more stringent requirements for the protection of sensitive data and IT systems of savings banks. That is because IT audits and association auditing offices were increasingly demanding the use of strong authentication, especially for use cases requiring a higher level of protection, such as single sign-on.
Finanz Informatik chose DigitalPersona for its biometric authentication
To give individual banks a choice in strong authentication, the objective was to offer both a smartcard solution and a biometric solution. DigitalPersona quickly became the tool of choice for biometric authentication. “We evaluated various authentication solutions. In the DigitalPersona solution, we have a complete package for biometric authentication – powerful fingerprint hardware and software that is optimally tuned to it,” says Ingo Neuhaus, Product Manager for Strong Authentication at FI. “FI achieved an optimal solution by partnering with MTRIX, which provided 3rd level and integration support as well as rollout and logistical support.
Overview of DigitalPersona at FI and savings banks
Use cases: Strong authentication for Windows logon. Supplemental biometric verification workflow to comply with accident prevention regulations (UVV) in small branch offices using the same fingerprint file as in the Windows logon by integrating the solution into the OSPlus-Kasse application at savings banks.
In operation since: Piloting took place in November 2010
Users, total: (Status: April 2020): Approx. 51,000 users of strong authentication and approx. 13,000 users of the Plus solution in OSPlus-Kasse; 186 savings banks use the technology
To fulfill requirements in advance of an association audit, the Sparkasse Wolfach, a savings bank in the Black Forest with 5 business offices and 84 banking employees, became one of the first savings bank to introduce strong authentication with DigitalPersona in 2011.
“We considered both methods that FI made available to us – biometrics and smartcard – and weighed the advantages and disadvantages extensively,” says Joachim Hübner, Department Manager for the Sparkasse Wolfach. “The easy process for introducing the method, and its easy and user-friendly operation quickly convinced us to choose the biometric solution from DigitalPersona. In the fingerprint method, nothing expires – unlike the certificate on a smartcard – and the fingerprint cannot be forgotten.”
Easy rollout and good acceptance among employees
The test phase at the Sparkasse Wolfach began with 10 employees in July 2011. The rollout for all employees already began in September. “Acceptance among our employees is exceptionally good. The project was completed in August 2012, and all employees now use the system,” says Hübner. “With the help of Finanz Informatik and MTRIX, we were even able to set the system up rapidly for employees whose fingerprints were difficult to read. After four years of operation and daily use, the solution still meets our requirements fully.”
With the new DigitalPersona solution, the screen lock can now be activated quickly and conveniently by the press of a finger. To comply with security requirements, a password and a fingerprint scan are then required to unlock the screen. “Today, we use the DigitalPersona solution to protect sign-in to a Windows system that meets the requirements of secure IT operation. In the future, it would also be desirable to protect other applications with this solution,” says Joachim Hübner.
About Finanz Informatik
Finanz Informatik (FI) with headquarters in Frankfurt am Main is the central IT service provider for the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. Its customers include 390 savings banks, 7 state banks, the DekaBank, 8 state building associations, public insurers and other companies of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe and the financial industry.
The products and services offered by Finanz Informatik range from the development and supply of IT applications, networks and technical infrastructure to computing center operation, consulting, training and support. Today, the company offers one of the leading IT systems for the German banking market: the high-performance OSPlus solution. The company’s service line-up is supplemented by subsidiaries like Finanz Informatik Technologie Service, Finanz Informatik Solutions Plus, Star Finanz and inasys.