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Biometrics - News

Biometric solutions bridge the gap between physical and logical access control

SRI recently launched a biometrics-embedded tablet equipped with its (IOM) technology
A biometrics-embedded tablet can tag a guard upon entering the building & feed video
of what’s happening beyond secure doors as he/she moves through the facility

The best way to make the case for biometrics is to consider a physical and logical access control scenario, according to biometrics vendor SRI Identity, a program from SRI International, one biometrics company. With advances in security technology, access control systems have come to play a bigger role in organisational efficiency and strategies.

Expanding role of access control systems

Imagine an employee sitting at their desk after entering a facility. The organisation can tailor access and information to that employee across all devices and interfaces (access points, laptops, tablets, smartphones) in a way that not only improves security, but also enables the organisation to track time and attendance, manage inventory control, and, in effect, to integrate biometrics into a broader operational system. SRI Identity's (IOM) solutions offer an efficient, fast and non-invasive method of controlling physical and logical access, says Steve Perna, Executive Director, Products and Solutions Division, SRI International.  “Enterprises can maintain high security without slowing things down,” he says.

Consider the efficiency and productivity gains for a workforce with the use of biometrics. In hourly and shift-based businesses such as retail, hospitality and manufacturing, time and attendance becomes more accurate (no more “buddy punching”) and automated. It also becomes more convenient, eliminating all the extra steps between punching in, recording hours, processing payroll and performing analytics.

SRI Identity technology

The ability to push information out to the edge based on the individual’s access level, location and other factors is a powerful capability, says Perna. A biometrics-embedded tablet could, for example, tag a guard upon entering the building, and feed video of what’s happening beyond secure doors as he/she moves through the facility to better situational awareness.

SRI’s recently launched a biometrics-embedded tablet – equipped with its (IOM) technology – combines the accuracy and convenience of iris biometrics with the functionality and customisation of the Android enterprise computing platform. This enables one device to support workflows including physical access control, time and attendance, inventory control, company messaging as well as addition customisable applications.

Today, biometrics are seeing heavy use in mobile devices as well as banking applications, says Robert Fee, Director of sales, access control, Zwipe. Applications have seen the greatest uptick in replacement of passwords and log-ins, specifically in web and mobile based applications. Biometrics, as a form of security, has the potential to replace current forms of security, including physical, logical and web, he says. Therefore, considering the number of physical keys, access cards and credit/debit cards currently in the marketplace, the potential is excessively large.


Biometrics, as a form of security, has the potential to replace current forms of security, including physical, logical and web
The primary value proposition of using biometrics over traditional security is that it
dramatically enhances security by providing two-factor biometric authentication

Enhanced security with biometric solutions

Fee says the primary value proposition of using biometrics over traditional security (in the case of access control) is that it dramatically enhances security by providing two-factor biometric authentication: your fingerprint. The days of using a PIN for two-factor are gone since PINs can be passed on from employee to employee to non-employee. “The vast majority of electronic access control (EAC) systems in place today authenticate the badge, not the person holding the badge,” says Fee. “Where is the security in that?” Solutions such as Zwipe biometric credentials allow implementation of two-factor authentication without replacing a single reader. No database integration, protection, installation, wiring or maintenance agreements required. It provides more security without any additional steps. Taking the same amount of time to use a biometric product as a traditional PIN-based card or swipe card, a biometric solution will offer greater security and ease of use, according to Zwipe.

Zwipe specifically addresses privacy concerns by never storing a person’s fingerprint. The company creates unique templates that, by themselves, have no value other than within a Zwipe-based solution. Plus, the biometric engine within a Zwipe device is independent of the RF transponder that communicates to an external device, such as a physical or logical access reader. There is no biometric data being communicated between a Zwipe device and reader. Zwipe is the biometric reader.

Entering physical access control market

“We have physical spaces and virtual spaces, and the differences between them are becoming fuzzy,” says Jason Chaikin, President of biometric company Vkansee, which specialises in fingerprint capture for payment, data and other sectors, including physical access control. He notes that biometrics might be used to control an entrance to a building as well as entry into a network on a computer in the building. Additional safeguards can include confirming that a person trying to access a network from a computer in the building is also on record as having entered the building. “It brings together silos of information so we don’t have the weak links we have now,” he says.

Chaikin says physical security devices are on his company’s radar. “I think biometrics should be on a lot more doors than they are now. Our new smaller size sensors can add biometrics for an extra $20 or so per door. The ability to locate the sensor safely under glass opens the doors to outdoor applications in a variety of harsh environments.”

“People are willing to give a new look to biometrics, but the physical access control market is more conservative, so it will take more time,” says Chaikin. “When you contact companies, they are willing to give it a shot. Agile companies will start adopting new biometrics that work quite well – you will see a quick rampup.”


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