Access Control – Biometric ID Pros and Cons

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Biometric ID Pros and Cons

Access Control – Biometric ID Pros and Cons

Technology is constantly changing and evolving, which leads to innovation and new devices. We are always looking for newer and better ways to do everything. This involves education, entertainment, healthcare and every other field or industry known to man. However, it is especially true for the world of security. As technology improves, we need more secure measures to ensure that data and identities are safe. This is where biometrics comes into play. Biometrics is the science and technology behind measuring and analyzing biological data. This means that biometrics can have many uses and purposes, but authentication is where this type of technology offers the most benefits.

How Do Biometrics Work?

There are several ways a security system can verify that somebody is an authorized user. Most systems are looking for one or more of the following:

  • What you have
  • What you know
  • Who you are

To get past a “what you have” system, you need some sort of “token,” such as an identity card with a magnetic strip. A “what you know” system requires you to enter a password or PIN number. A “who you are” system is actually looking for physical evidence that you are who you say you are – a specific fingerprint, voice or iris pattern.

“Who you are” systems like fingerprint scanners have a number of advantages over other systems. To name few:

  • Physical attributes are much harder to fake than identity cards.
  • You can’t guess a fingerprint pattern like you can guess a password.
  • You can’t misplace your fingerprints, irises or voice like you can misplace an access card.
  • You can’t forget your fingerprints like you can forget a password.

But, as effective as they are, they certainly aren’t infallible, and they do have major disadvantages. Optical scanners can’t always distinguish between a picture of a finger and the finger itself, and capacitive scanners can sometimes be fooled by a mold of a person’s finger. If somebody did gain access to an authorized user’s prints, the person could trick the scanner. In a worst-case scenario, a criminal could even cut off somebody’s finger to get past a scanner security system. Some scanners have additional pulse and heat sensors to verify that the finger is alive, rather than a mold or dismembered digit, but even these systems can be fooled by a gelatin print mold over a real finger.

Pros and Cons of Biometric Access Control

  • Advantages of Biometrics: Highly Accurate

When you are looking for technology that can be used for security purposes nothing matter more than accuracy. Devices that are designed to offer security need to be reliable and work properly. Biometrics’ biggest pro is that this technology is effective and is scientifically accurate. Since biological characteristics that are unique are used to prove identification with these types of devices, biometrics is one of the best methods for proving authentication that is available currently.

  • Advantages of Biometrics: Not Easy to Forge

Traditional timecards or id badges are pretty easy to forge or duplicate, but biometrics technology is not something that is easily forged. Forging a fingerprint or retina scan is almost impossible for many individuals that are not familiar with how biometrics technology actually works. This means that the amount of people able to forge this type of security device is reduced substantially. Timecard fraud is a major concern among many corporations and can be costly, but biometrics devices can cut down o this type of fraud very effectively. For this reason, many corporations are making the switch to biometric devices in their facilities.

  • Advantages of Biometrics: More Available

Even though this type o technology is still fairly new, it is much more available and accessible than in the past. There are countless different biometric devices that are now available for purchase. This means that about every building or business has the ability to have some type of biometrics device that helps to ensure security in some capacity. This type of accessibility for this technology has not always exited.

Cons of Biometrics

Even though there are many positive aspects of this type of technology, there are a few negatives that you need to be informed of before you change your security measures to rely fully on biometrics.

  • Disadvantages of Biometrics: Cost is High

The biggest drawback of biometrics devices is that they are not exactly affordable. The cost of even the most basic biometrics devices is very expensive. This technology is accurate and innovative, but it is not cheap by any means. Not only do you have to purchase the biometrics device for a high cost, but you are also required to buy software that allows the device to function properly. This means that you have a lot of different costs tied up in your biometrics security system. If affordability is what matters most, this type of technology might not be the ideal solution.

  • Disadvantages of Biometrics: Is It Too Invasive?

Another real concern with biometrics technology is that some people find it to be too invasive and are not comfortable with it being the norm for authorization purposes. There are many people that do not want to have to use a fingerprint scanner, facial scanner or retina scanner regularly. Some people feel that having to give this type of biological data is not safe. However, as biometric devices continue to become more common, the comfort level with this type of technology should increase drastically.


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