What Is Biometric Access Control?

If you are not sure whether biometric access control fits your needs, the experts at Jay360 are available to help. Contact us here for all the guidance you need on access control systems.

Biometric access control uses the unique biological characteristics of the human body to verify the identity of people entering through a restricted entrance.

To gain entry to a building or facility, a person’s unique fingerprint, iris, palm vein, or face pattern has to match the corresponding biometric information previously collected and stored in the system database.

Biometrics are a more secure and reliable means of identity verification than access cards, fobs, or PINs. Fobs and access cards can be stolen or shared, while a PIN can be seen or shared.

Biometric access control combines security with convenience

It is not hard to see why biometrics have been embraced so enthusiastically in access control. Instead of presenting a physical accessory - like an access card, or something you know - like a password or PIN to show that you are authorized to enter, with biometric access control, you merely present yourself - through your palm, eye, fingerprint, or face.

Biometric access control, thus, makes it hard to steal someone’s credentials and use them to gain entry into a building. And because you don’t have to carry an access card or key fob, or remember a password, biometric access control is more convenient for users than anything else available.

How biometric access control works

Biometric access control works in much the same way as traditional access control. Where they differ is with user validation. Instead of using standard card readers to validate users, biometric-based systems use fingerprint, palm vein, face, and iris scanners and other biometric recognition technologies.

4 biometrics typically used in access control

Unless one uses particularly crude methods, some biometrics are almost impossible to steal or duplicate. This makes them an excellent choice for access control in high-security applications.

You can use biometrics on their own or as an extra layer of security on traditional card or PIN-based access control systems. That being said, biometrics don’t come with the same level of accuracy. Let’s discuss their pros and cons:

Should you upgrade to a biometric access control system?

The decision to upgrade to a biometric access control system depends on your security needs. Biometrics come with the benefit of convenience but, depending on which one you use, aren’t always more secure or accurate.

You should also be careful to not overcome one vulnerability by inviting another. While access cards can be easily stolen or duplicated, fingerprints can also be easily lifted and duplicated. Palm vein scanning, of course, overcomes most of these vulnerabilities, though it comes with a steeper price.

Where biometrics have been successfully utilized in access control, they have been deployed as a second layer of verification. This way unauthorized visitors will not only need the stolen access card but the fingerprint too.
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