How Secure Really is Biometric Access Control?

Biometric access control essentially turns a person’s unique attributes into a key. Whether this is through fingerprints, or facial recognition. Made popular through demand for safer and more secure working environments. Biometric locks actually took a serious downward turn in 2020 when the Covid-19 outbreak forced the whole world to assess their facilities and processes. Businesses that had just installed brand-new biometric security had to shelve it and lose the security that they paid a premium for, in favour or contactless access control.

Is Biometric Access Control Expensive?

In truth. It is a more expensive option when it comes to security and access control. Usually reserved for government facilities and life science research & development stations where information must be protected, and access restricted to only a handful of employees.

Biometric security is more expensive because of the asset costs, and the alternative being a rudimentary card scanner that doesn’t need to be as sound as biometric scanners.

On balance though, for some businesses the cost of constantly replacing cards at £3 each can mean the cost of running biometric scanners outweigh the high initial costs of installation.

So, is biometric security worth the higher installation costs?

That depends entirely on your business. How many staff do you have? Do you have any secure information you need to consider? How many doors do you have? What is your staff turnover?

If biometric security suits your needs more, then compromising and opting for basic access control may lead to more problems down the line and higher operating costs over the lifetime of the system.

How does biometric security work?

It turns your body into a key, the most unique of your characteristics is your fingerprint. This is often the easiest and most secure option. The add another layer of security, you can require a card scanned at the same time. This takes a bit longer, but can be worth it if you have highly sensitive information at risk.

Fingerprint Scanners

When a fingerprint is captured, a scanner maps where the ends of your grooves are, called minutiae. As made popular by movies, fingerprints are 1005 unique to each person. Unlike in movies, they cannot be cloned with a strip of sticky tape.

The registration of a fingerprint scanner takes as little as 2-3 minutes. The time it takes for the scanner to recognise a fingerprint is about a second.

Unlike most facial recognition systems, a fingerprint scanner is 100% suitable for outdoor and in harsh conditions. We recommend using IEVO-U systems, which are IP65 and IK10 rated. Which means they have 0% water ingress and are 100% secure from tamper or vandalism.

Typical fingerprint sensors scan up to a depth of 150 microns, which if the thickness of human hair. The IEVO systems capture 9 different light images at once up to a depth of 4,000 microns. Which means if you have any cuts or if your fingerprints have been eroded, these systems still work. They even work through some latex gloves.

Facial Recognition

A solution that has remained in use throughout covid-19 pandemic, facial recognition is 100% contactless. Face recognition projects infrared dots onto a face creating a map of the contours of the face. The pattern created is fully encrypted. Some face recognition can be prone to liveness detection however many have anti-spoofing now, which is where it can be fooled by an image of a person.

The benefit of a facial recognition system is that it matches an image to 0.3 seconds. Perfect for businesses with large teams.

Ultimately, biometric scanners are always going to be more secure as they cannot be spoofed. How secure depends on the brand and the make of the system. We always recommend using top tier systems like IEVO. However, no system is 100% secure. For complete peace of mind, we would pair a system like this with CCTV and ANPR.

NHS Full Scale Security System Install

We didn't just install CCTV and ANPR for Dewsbury Hospital, we fostered a culture of compliance and accountability in the hands of their new Head of Security. Including a brand new custom built office fit for a modern hospital.