Points to consider in selecting biometrics

October 2012 Access Control & Identity Management

The landscape in access control is constantly changing with respect to the technologies, products, costs and end-user requirements. As South Africa becomes a more dangerous place, heightened security starts to make more sense.

There are a number of biometric scanning technologies available, but which one is best is the subject of much contention between not only vendors, but also manufacturers.

Biometrics-based access control is a way in which UTM Group believes South African businesses can further secure their premises eliminating lost card, stolen PIN codes and, in the case of time and attendance, eliminate buddy clocking.

With so much at stake, end users should carefully consider who gets involved with biometric technologies. Do you want to rely on cheap knock-off biometric products whose algorithms and design may not have been subjected to adequate evaluation and testing?

UTM Group has put together a list of requirements that should be considered, when investigating biometric technologies.

Site conditions: These play an important role. Each biometric technology has characteristics which differentiate it from the others. Indoor as opposed to outdoor, and specifically, the IP rating (Ingress Progression). This rating classifies the degrees of protection against dust, water and impact that electrical equipment and enclosures can afford.

Existing system capabilities: Biometric upgrades are totally possible without having to rerun cabling or changing other system assets.

Throughput required: This means how many individuals the system will be required to screen, or scan, and how fast must this be accomplished to avoid creating delays and user frustration.

Reliability and efficiency of the reader: Every person who uses the system will have to be enrolled and verified. Misreads or malfunctions will cause issues.

Price: The cost of the hardware and the amount of technical support required to keep biometrics functioning. Essentially, the total cost of ownership for the solution.

Ease of deployment: Biometric systems and readers are more robust and modular; software is written to interface more readily, and the readers are designed to withstand harsh environments – once again depending on the IP rating.

Reliability: Improved technology results in fewer hardware failures and security lapses.

Convenience: Newer biometrics are less intimidating and easier to use.

Unlike keys, PINs, keypads, picture IDs or magnetic swipe cards, biometric technology and identities cannot be transferred to another person, stolen, copied or counterfeited. UTM Group believes the application of biometric technology eliminates or greatly reduces the opportunity for identity theft, unauthorised access and the potentially disastrous consequences to safety and security.

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