Up until recently, an employee (or visitor) is issued an access card (aka badge) so they can gain entry to their office. Offices are normally protected by a locked door (or turnstile) with an integrated badge reader. When approaching the door, the employee swipes (or flashes) their badge within proximity of the badge-reader. The door unlocks only if the employee has the necessary access rights. This same badge can also be used for visual identification with the employee’s name and photo boldly printed on it.
Today however, biometric readers (instead of badge readers) are bringing far greater security, productivity and convenience to organizations than can badge readers.
Biometric Authentication Methods
“Biometrics” is computer-generated binary code (aka template) which is created from the unique physical characteristics of a person which distinguishes that person from everyone else. Commonly used biometrics are derived from people’s fingerprints, faces, finger-veins, palm-vein, iris, hands, voices, hand-writing/signatures, etc.
Biometric Technology Fast-Gaining Acceptance
Acceptance for the use of biometrics has grown far beyond just government agencies and airports. Today, the use of biometrics can be seen in commercial banks, hospitals, schools, retailers . . . and in just about any business which has doors needing extra security.
Regarding government agencies; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today now recognizes unique biological characteristics as positive identification through its Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM). Likewise, the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and Department of State have all expanded their acceptance and use of biometric technology.
Today, biometric technology is popping up everywhere it seems.
- Unlocking smart phones
- Time and Attendance
- Facility access control
- Inventory control
- Airport security
- IT Department Security
- Unlocking vehicles
- Preventing unauthorized start-up of electrical machinery
When an ID badge is issued, it’s more so a matter of when (than if) that same badge will be forgotten, lost or compromised. Before the security staff who issued the badge have time to “invalidate” the card which they discover has been “compromised”, it’s often too late. Unauthorized parties in possession of the compromised badge have already gained access to valuable business assets (i.e. money, inventory, computers/data, financial data, intellectual property, etc.).
Conversely, with a biometric security system, there is no possibility of “credentials” being compromised. You cannot forget, lose or have stolen your fingerprint, face, vein-pattern, etc. For even greater security it’s advisable to add additional “layers” of security. For instance, security staff can enforce multi-factor authentication which requires employees to use TWO credentials when attempting door access (i.e. fingerprint AND badge, fingerprint AND face, etc.). The more biometric credentials you “layer”, the greater security you achieve.
In security, there is nothing more convenient than using biometrics. There’s never the worry of accidental lockouts when using biometrics because you cannot forget your finger, face, etc. When using face recognition, you don’t even need to remove your hands from your pocket. Simply look into the camera of a face reader and the door opens automatically. HANDS-FREE door access. Think of all the times your hands were occupied but you needed your hands to open a door. Therefore, you were forced to put down your packages or remove your gloves. If you utilized face recognition, you’d enjoy unencumbered door access ALL THE TIME.
While the actual cost of badge readers and badges is relatively inexpensive, the ongoing cost of replacing badges and fobs may run hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. Conversely, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of biometrics is far less than badges because biometrics has no recurring costs. Biometrics has no associated “consumables” (i.e. badges). Also note the purchase price of biometrics has dramatically decreased over the years making it a very attractive alternative to badge readers.
What most people see when they approach a door is the biometric reader. These visually aesthetic devices are now available in low profile, sleek designs that are intended to fit into modern architectural environments while maintaining the rugged characteristics that frequent commercial or industrial use requires. Behind the reader is a software system that verifies the “live” biometric presented against a database of previously-enrolled biometric templates. The biometric template is initially created & enrolled upon employment “onboarding” or verification of visitor identity to allow future access to the facility or sensitive area(s).
ZKTeco USA is an industry leader in biometric reader solutions, offering the ZKTeco Pro Series of access control panels and readers. ZKTeco USA is known for their unmatched technical innovation, fast product-to-market capability and responsive & reliable USA-based support.