Biometric Access Control Systems for Businesses
Biometric access control is one of the top security measures businesses are currently implementing into their security systems. This is the sophisticated use of information bespoke to an individual to access a business building and its restricted areas. Fingerprints, retinal scans, and face recognition can all be used for biometric security.
These types of identification are unique to each person and can be used as a bespoke physical password. This makes it an extremely secure access control measure compared to standard controls such as ID cards and fobs, as these can easily be lost, stolen, or duplicated.
Why is Biometric Technology Popular for Security Systems?
Security systems that incorporate access controls such as an access card or fob may be effective in certain instances. However, these systems have their weaknesses. One such liability is that they rely on physical tokens (fobs and cards); these can easily be lost, stolen or shared, leaving the premises at risk should they end up in the possession of unauthorised individuals. In contrast, biometric data cannot be lost, stolen or shared, making it difficult for unauthorised individuals to obtain and bypass the security controls.
Many companies implement the keypad and pin code control system; this is often the most cost-effective security control measure. But, while it does the job (prevent unauthorised access), the data (pin code) can easily be shared deliberately or inadvertently should employees share or write the code down. Therefore, businesses looking for high-security solutions find that biometric controls offer a more secure means of access.
Biometric data cannot be tampered with or altered in any way. Unlike access cards or fobs that can be duplicated, criminals won’t find it easy to replicate data such as fingerprints or retinal scans. But by far, the most significant reason why biometrics are becoming so popular in the security industry is the convenience it brings to the table. For example, staff don’t need to remember to carry their access passes to verify their identity and the costly replacement of these access tokens is made redundant.
Lastly, businesses that need to maintain high levels of restricted access, such as laboratories with highly sensitive areas, can be assured that only those with access rights gain access. Even the least secure biometric system is still more robust than a traditional security system with standard access controls.
Advantages of Biometric Access Control
Biometric access controls provide a secure means of protecting a business’s assets, operations and perimeters. They are easily integrated into businesses existing control systems and provide the following additional benefits.
- Increased security
Security levels are further enhanced when using biometric data as a means of identification and access control. This is because biometrics are unique to each person. For example, no two people have identical fingerprints, iris patterns or facial features. When used as part of a security system, biometric access controls use biometric technologies to positively identify employees and those with authorised access. Should the system not recognise the individual, access is denied, and an alarm is raised, thus protecting the business from potential theft or harm.
In addition, the need for physical tokens is eliminated, thus preventing the risk of these being duplicated by criminals and gaining unauthorised access. Lastly, biometric systems can be instantly be updated, ensuring that inactive users are immediately removed and only active users remain. This is an excellent security measure for staff leaving the business, as there is no need to retrieve access cards or fobs. Instead, the employee is simply made inactive on the biometric system’s dashboard, and access is immediately revoked.
- Increased convenience
The average person has a plethora of passwords to remember just to maintain their everyday lives. This is because much of our lives are governed by technology that refuses to operate without some form of password. This makes remembering them pretty challenging as each needs to be unique and difficult for criminals to guess. With biometric access controls, authorised users are not required to remember a unique password or access code; instead, the system recognises their physical form (fingerprint, face or eye) and allows them access.
Lost or stolen physical access tokens (cards or fobs) are no longer a security risk for the business as biometric data cannot be tampered with or misplaced. Another added benefit is that it removes the need to carry these tokens, which can easily be forgotten at home, preventing staff from starting their workday. This keeps the business operating at optimum levels with a full staff complement at all times. Lastly, struggling to get a pass out of a pocket or heavily laden bag can be frustrating when in a rush; biometric controls remove this frustration allowing fast and easy access.
Biometric control systems can reduce a company’s overheads by eliminating the need to hire a dedicated security team. Often a security team comprises more than one team member to ensure the building is kept secure throughout the day and night. This can further increase salary costs. Instead of security staff physically guarding access points, a biometric system can automatically identify individuals with appropriate access rights.
Some facilities require expensive equipment covered by a warranty to function; this could be anything from high-tech microscopes to huge cranes or diggers. Access rights can be applied to these costly pieces of equipment using biometric data controls. Once the system identifies an authorised user, access to the machine or equipment is granted, thus protecting them from unauthorised access, damage and a voided warranty.
Replacing lost or stolen access cards and fobs can be very costly to a company, especially when lost administration time is added into the calculation. However, biometric data cannot be lost or stolen; thus, this cost is no longer a factor for businesses implementing a biometric control system.
Types of Biometric Access
There are two common types of biometric access control, fingerprint and facial recognition. Each has its pros and cons, and business owners should consider which one will best benefit their business. A combination of both is also possible depending on your facility and the level of security you require. Often it’s best to discuss your biometric access control needs with an expert who can help identify the type of biometric access best suited to your business needs.
- Biometric fingerprint
Fingerprint authentication is the most popular and most common form of biometric control. This type of identification has been used for centuries, as far back as the Babylonians, to sign documentation. Present-day law enforcement and immigration control use fingerprints to conduct background checks or identify criminals. Technology has also advanced to incorporate our fingerprints as means of identity when using our smartphones. For example, smartphone technologies use fingerprints to authorise app-store purchases, and many banking app platforms use fingerprints as part of their two-step authentication process. This shows that the fingerprint, unique to each person, is the main form of biometric data identity today.
Fingerprint access control is cost-effective because installation costs are also relatively cheap, depending on the type of fingerprint reader selected. Furthermore, people are used to using fingerprint scanners in everyday life, so it doesn’t incur additional costs of training employees or staff.
However, fingerprint recognition as a security control has some negatives business owners should consider. Firstly, fingerprints are susceptible to wear and tear as we age. Cuts and scars can prevent fingerprint scanners from identifying authorised individuals. Fingerprint readers are also unsanitary due to the high number of individuals using them. This can cause issues due to the spread of illness. Therefore this method is not best suited to medical, food production or restaurant facilities. Lastly, fingerprints can be forged using techniques such as 3D printing, more advanced fingerprint scanners easily detect this, but less advanced systems may be bypassed.
- Facial recognition
Facial recognition used as a biometric control is where biometric readers scan the physical attributes of an individual’s face to either approve or deny access to an area. This type of security is excellent when used to identify a large volume of people in places such as an airport. The main benefit of using facial recognition in the workplace is convenience. Employees or authorised individuals are not required to take any action other than look at the scanner in order to be granted access to the building. Once the scanner has identified the person, the door lock is released, allowing the person to enter the building or restricted area.
The negatives associated with facial recognition primarily relate to privacy and legal risks. This is because facial recognition data can be collected from a distance without an individual’s consent. This can lead to potential legal issues or lawsuits, which can be costly to a business. However, in the workplace, this would likely only affect those visiting the business premises rather than employees who are actively enrolled on the system.
Facial recognition as a control measure is also less accurate than fingerprint biometrics. This is because the scanner reviews fewer data points than biometrics. Furthermore, a person can easily change their appearance by changing their hair colour, makeup, glasses or decide to grow facial hair. As a result, the facial recognition system can either falsely accept or reject individuals, thus allowing unauthorised access or preventing those with access rights from entering.
Biometric Access Control Solutions
Business security is essential to promoting a safe and productive environment for staff. It also ensures production runs smoothly and restricted areas or information is protected from unauthorised access, damage or theft. Nowadays, business security entails much more than ensuring the doors are locked, and the perimeter fencing is free from holes. The many risks to business security are a combination of internal and external threats, which with excellent control software can easily be mitigated. At Satori-ist, we help you gain the control you need over your building or facility.
Start the process by leaving your contact information, including your name, email and phone number, and one of our expert consultants will call you back to discuss your requirements. Each of our access control systems can be tailored to suit the type of entry points that form part of your business. So whether you require perimeter control solutions, biometric access control for restricted areas or a full complement of access controls to enhance your business security, we can assist and advise.
Once we have accessed the type of access control that will benefit your business, a free no-obligation quote will be provided. After that, the decision is up to you; simply choose the system and service you need. If cost is a worry, we offer financing that will help spread the cost, thus providing a cost-effective solution for your security requirements.
Once your security system is installed, the Satori team will continue to provide regular upgrades and maintenance support, keeping your security system up to date and doing a top-notch job!