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Biometric Access Control Systems

What Is Biometrics?

Biometrics or (biometric authentication) refers to the identification of humans by their characteristics or traits. Biometrics is used in conjunction with computer science as a form of identification and access control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance

Biometric identifiers are the distinctive, measurable characteristics used to label and describe individuals. Biometric identifiers are often categorized as physiological versus behavioral characteristics. A physiological biometric would identify by one's voice, DNA, facial features, iris print or fingerprint, as examples. Behavioral biometrics are related to the behavior of a person, typing rhythm, gait, and voice. Some researchers have coined the term behaviometrics to describe the latter class of biometrics.

Biometric technology use identifiable attributes of people for identification and authentication. These attributes can be used to validate the identity of individuals seeking to control access to computers, airlines, databases and buildings and building areas which may need to be restricted.

Are biometrics a threat to privacy? This is a difficult question and probably the main barrier to wider use of biometric systems. If a person's biometric information is stolen, then their privacy has definitely been breached. However, if certain standards in information collection and protection are met, then biometrics can be a privacy enhancing tool.

How Biometric Systems Work

Biometric systems can seem complicated, but they all use the same three steps:


The first time you use a biometric system, it records basic information about you, like your name or an identification number. It then captures an image or recording of your specific trait, like your fingerprint.


Contrary to what you may see in movies, most systems don't store the complete image or recording. They instead analyze your trait and translate it into a code or graph. Some systems also record this data onto a smart card that you carry with you.


The next time you use the system, it compares the trait you present to the information on file. Then, it either accepts or rejects that you are who you claim to be.
Components of a Biometric System
Biometric Systems all use the same three components:
  • A sensor that detects the characteristic being used for identification
  • A computer that reads and stores the information
  • Software that analyzes the characteristic, translates it into a graph or code and performs the actual comparisons

Advantages of Biometric Access Control

Biometric physical access control solutions are stronger authentication methods than keys, key cards and PINs for a simple reason: they’re what you are, not what you have. While a key can be lost or stolen and used by an unauthorized person, a fingerprint, as an example, is something unique that only you have.

Biometrics identification scanners and door locks eliminate the need for access control cards and keypad codes. This means no key cards or passwords to manage and it eliminates the potential of keycard and password sharing. Further, biometrics can be integrated into an existing access control system, so no need to totally scrap your existing system.

Biometric systems provide more accountability. Biometric log-ins mean a person can be directly connected to a particular action or an event. In other words, biometrics creates a clear, definable audit trail of transactions or activities.

For more information on Biometric Access Control Systems or for a free on-site review and estimate for all your business security needs, call us today at (949) 828-3008.

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