Examining Access Control Systems: Biometric Security
Technology has given us much in terms of security, especially access control systems which enables us to control who has access to, well, anything in our control really. Whether you want to restrict access to a computer or to an entire server room, biometric access control systems should be your method of choice.
In the context of access control systems, biometrics refers to authentication based on unique human fingers. Sci-fi movies used to impress us with fingerprint scanners, retinal scanners, voice-activated computers and the like. These are all forms of biometrics, since they are unique to each individual with no two people sharing the same fingerprint and so on. Additional biometrics include gait, typing rhythm, DNA and also palm prints, among numerous others.
The modus operandi of these access control systems are pretty straightforward: an individual scans his or her thumb or handprint into a scanner device. The scanner scans a digital image of the palm or thumb print, sends it to a server loaded with software capable of comparing the scanned image to hundreds or thousands of others in a reasonable time. If access is granted, the software will allow the individual to carry on. Should access be restricted, the individual will be prompted to try again. Where voice is used, a sound bite of the individual’s voice is recorded before following the same general procedure as previously described.
The creation of these access control systems, in part at least, is in response to the fallibility of token-based control systems. The latter refers to IDs, driver’s licenses, passports, security tags as well as username and password combinations as a means to gain access to a building or system. Naturally, these could be faked or stolen. Biometric identifiers are harder to falsify than token-based identification systems, which means that they’re also more effective.
Thanks to the advancement of technology, these biometric access control systems have moved from the minds of Hollywood sci-fi writers to military, government and other high-level clearance institutions to passport control at airports and even our places of work and, more recently, our homes.
At the end of the day the security you have in place is directly linked to the functionality of your business or department – without it only the truly paranoid would have some measure of security in place. Now, luckily, access control systems based on biometrics are not only affordable, they’re often just a phone call away.