When we go to client sites for security audits, we get asked about the best type of access control and whether biometric access control is the way forward. Hopefully, this blog will answer just that question.
What is Biometric Access Control?
Biometric access control is a security device that allows you access to a secure location using unique characteristics of a person such as voice, face, eye, fingerprint or signature.
The system itself will have a list of authorised persons and it will match the characteristic with what is recorded on file.
It is very difficult to fool a biometric system because a unique characteristic is hard to duplicate.
Different types of Biometric Access control scanners
Like the retina scan, it is very difficult to replicate an iris.
Also, it can be difficult to record the scan initially so it is worth keeping in mind if you have quite a few people to scan.
Eye Retina Scan
You can’t replicate a retina as the blood vessels at the back of the eye are unique and do not change.
It can take longer to get a read, so be aware if you are securing a location which may require immediate access.
Fingerprints are truly unique as no two fingerprints are the same. One of the flaws of fingerprint scanners is that it does rely on the right angle of print.
It’s a common feature on mobile devices but it can prove unreliable, so they get locked out of their device.
It’s not very effective if one was to accidentally burn their fingerprint off, such as with an over-enthusiastic pan of pasta. You may laugh but it happens!
Flexible form of access control as it works quickly and identifies you by characteristics like the distance between eyes.
Possibly one of the least reliable methods of biometric access control as although a signature is unique, it can still be forged.
Not quite as reliable as the likes of eye scanners because some scanners are fooled by the likes of a tape recording.
What is Standard Access Control?
Standard access control relates to the security measure in place to restrict access to a location. Standard access control is usually; pin codes, access pass/fob or mobile.
There will be a list of authorised persons with the relevant access and each device will only allow certain people through to the secure location.
One of the main aspects of standard access control is that they are not unique to the user and they could be lost, stolen or shared.
Different types of Standard Access control scanners
Access pass or fob
A common form of access control; a pass allows quick access but can be programmed so it still restricts access to certain locations for different individuals however the physical pass can be standardised across the whole business so that everyone’s looks the same.
They are subject to wear and tear, can be cloned, lost, stolen or shared.
Fairly new technology but it is fast becoming popular as the mobile is carried constantly so it is easy to have it operate as an access pass.
As it is still fairly new, you may run into compatibility issues and of course, mobiles can be lost, stolen or shared.
The simplest form of access control as it is a simple code which the users memorise and will only allow them to areas they are permitted entry. It’s more cost-effective than the pass or fob but it does rely on people’s memory.
Additionally, someone with a PIN can easily share their code with another.
So, Biometrics or Standard access control?
Standard access control such as Pin access are adequate for lower risk security areas but if you are in possession of high value information, products or harmful substances then Biometric Access control is the way to go.
Of course, if it is extremely high risk, we would advocate a mixture of both biometric and standard access control.