Tightening up Security with Biometrics
By Martin Cooper
Oct 12, 2016
Thanks to advancements in technology, biometric access control has become a reliable means of replacing manual entry systems, and it offers numerous benefits.
Whilst traditional access control systems have always offered an effective means of regulating entry, there are always the issues of ID or passcode sharing or copying and misplaced entry cards to consider. With biometric systems however, these issues are overridden thanks to each ID being unique and no cards or fobs being required.
What are Biometric Entry Systems?
Biometric entry systems utilise unique physical characteristics to allow access to premises or particular zones of premises. These physical characteristics are usually fingerprints, but iris recognition is increasingly being used.
With biometrics, there is no margin for human error. Identities cannot be shared or stolen and replicated, which provides a far greater level of security. For a business, it enables detailed tracking of traffic throughout a premises and provides reassurance that only the personnel that are truly authorised to enter a restricted area are able to do so.
Where can Biometric Entry Systems be Used?
Biometric access control is an ideal security solution for the healthcare sector, particularly where restrictions on entry are required to protect medical supplies and particular wards.
Access to server rooms in an IT setting is another area in which biometrics come into their own. The technology is also starting to be introduced to replace hotel key cards. Basically anywhere where it is important to control where individual people rather than credentials can and cannot go is where biometrics work.
What are the Benefits of Biometric Systems?
In an enterprise setting where there is an extensive array of entry points to manage, and there are numerous digital identities, credentials and databases involved, biometrics can streamline access making it quicker and easier for everyone involved. An audit trail is part and parcel of the system, and there is little or no need for help desk assistance to deal with passcode issues.
Manned checkpoints can be eliminated; cards, keys and fobs no longer have to be issued – or replaced when lost – and passcode management becomes a thing of the past. Imagine the costs of all these elements now eradicated: it is more than likely going to warrant the investment in a biometric system.
Where additional security is required, biometric authentication can be paired with a secondary layer of verification. For example, to gain entry to a highly sensitive zone, a fingerprint combined with a passcode could be set as a requirement.
What Concerns Come with Biometric Entry?
Businesses may find that users of a biometric system harbour concerns over how their private data is being used and stored. Well documented policies and careful procedures are obviously crucial, but the fact that these systems are heavily used by the military, the government and other high level security organisations should allay any fears.
Providing you reassure users that their data is encrypted and demonstrate the risks of the alternatives – stolen passcodes and copied IDs for example – then they will soon see that biometric control is in their best interests.
Of course, any security measure should be considered holistically alongside the overall security of the organisation. With biometrics it may be necessary to have discussions with legal and HR advisers to ensure all bases are covered.
If you adopt biometrics as an additional layer of security alongside other measures, this will bring the greatest benefits and will work in the most efficient way to protect your working environment.
If you are interested in finding out more about how biometric access control could work within your organisation, please get in touch. Our experts are here to help.