We’re all using biometrics increasingly more for physical security. We’re opening doors using fingerprints, the palm of our hand and more, but also using access cards in higher security environments.
Biometrics to increase convenience
For the people using your building, biometrics can give a better experience compared to an access badge. These days, biometrics are used for both identification and verification – sometimes even both at the same time. Being allowed to enter your building just by scanning your hand or face makes access control more convenient than ever.
Biometrics to toughen security
Where you need a stronger security level, multifactor verification is one way to go. And using biometric verification as an additional step in your security process, for example after presenting a badge, is a convenient way to increase your security level. It’s also safer than, for example, using a pin code as a verification step, as this can be passed on to other people. Depending on the level of security or convenience needed, you can use identification and verification applications alongside or even on top of each other. And both are getting more popular every day.
Areas of concern
There are some areas of concern, and even potential risks, when using biometrics. Users must be physically present – for example when the receptionist registers them in the system using their fingerprint or iris profile – which is less user-friendly. When assigning an access card or PIN, being present isn’t necessary – it can be done in advance.
What’s more, biometrics are often slower in practice. If a large number of people need to gain access within a certain timeframe, using biometrics isn’t recommended. Access cards are a better alternative as the system recognises and processes people quicker, which prevents a queue forming at the entrance.
The security of stored data is also an important area of concern from a privacy perspective. If an access card is stolen, you can replace it in a few pushes of a button. But what do you do if a fingerprint is copied?
Choosing biometric access control: what to consider
The markets for both biometric solutions and access control systems are growing rapidly. So an access control system with standard interfaces enables the best of both worlds and allows other systems and solutions to be easily integrated. This gives you more freedom to choose the type of identification and/or verification appropriate for your organisation‘s risk profile.
It’s best to use an access control system that uses open standards. Integrations between biometric devices and access control systems enable you to integrate biometrics into your current solution like it’s a native part of your system.
There’s a wide range of biometric techniques, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. It’s really important to use biometrics where they offer added value. It’s also crucial to choose an access control system that allows biometric data to be stored securely and in an encrypted form. After all, you can issue a replacement access card can you can’t replace a finger.
Learn about the possibilities of AEOS and biometrics.
Download our Integration Insights Biometrics Systems below
Frequently asked questions
At a very basic level, access control is a means of controlling who enters a location and when. The person entering may be an employee, a contractor or a visitor and they may be on foot, driving a vehicle or using another mode of transport. The location they’re entering may be, for example, a site, a building, a room or a cabinet. We tend to call it physical access control to differentiate it from access control that prevents people from entering virtual spaces – for example when logging into a computer network.
If you decide to use an access control system, it’s probably because you want to secure the physical access to your buildings or sites to protect your people, places and possessions. That’s just the start for access control systems though. The right system, used well, can add value in a range of ways. You can use it, and the data it generates, to boost not just security but productivity, creativity and performance.
Today, physical security is about so much more than locks and bolts. Many modern physical access control systems are IP-based, powered by smart software and able to process large quantities of data. This provides more functionality, flexibility, scalability and opportunities for integration. It also means they’re part of your IT network, so it’s essential they’re protected and upgraded – just like your other IT systems.
From our perspective, a centralised access control system is always preferable – whether you have just two locations in the same town or hundreds spread around the world. Centralising your access control brings a range of far-reaching benefits.
Mechanical keys are the simplest form of physical access control and the method many smaller organisations use. Even for a small company, however, using mechanical keys has several flaws and limitations – especially as an organisation gets bigger. Below are just some of the problems presented by using keys.