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Is biometric scanning right for you?

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The topic of this article is whether or not biometric scanning is right for you and your organization. Biometric scanning is a system of access control. Biometric scanning is a security system options that can take on a number of different forms. It can consist of fingerprint matching, it could be facial recognition, or it could be an iris scan. Yes: all of those security maneuvers that you see in the spy movies really do exist. And you can use them to protect access to your own sensitive information or areas. But will biometric scanning be right for you?

The first, and most obvious, advantage to biometric scanning is that nobody can fake it. Biometric scanning is not like a password that can be easily stolen and copied, or that can be decoded by an intense and complex computer program. Fingerprints, irises, voices, and faces are unique, and if you have a good biometric scanning program, they cannot be copied. You do have to remember, however, that there can be what is called "noise" that can mess up the biometric scanning. The way that biometric scanning works is that it scans the fingerprint or the iris, and then it compares that image to a host of images that it has in a database. If the scanned image doesn't match any of the stored images, then it's no go. So, in other words, the image quality has to be incredibly high. Incredibly tiny differences can end up in a rejection. If someone has a little bit of butter on their finger from their morning bagel, it's a no go. Or if you are using face recognition technology, and the computer technician's hair is messy that day. If you're using iris recognition biometric scanning, and the person blinks or moves their eye, that's it.

There are four areas that you should consider when you are thinking about whether or not biometric scanning is right for you.

  1. Hardware
    This area is the easiest to approve. Biometric hardware isn't actually as expensive as you might think. The hardware also can easily interface with a number of different software platforms. The hardware is generally stable and doesn't malfunction too often.

  2. Security level.
    There is no question that biometric scanning offers an incredibly high level and standard of security. But you have to ask yourself if you really need that much security. And how complicated will it be to get everybody into the system? Granted, it's not a password that the majority of people are going to forget anyway. Maybe you should consider only having biometric scanning security in certain areas of your business. Those really sensitive and important areas.

  3. Integration
    This point involves the ability of biometric scanning security hardware and software to integrate with applications and operating systems. How easily will it be to integrate the software with your development platforms? Do you have the right APIs? Is it going to be too much of a hassle to get the biometric scanning software installed on a number of different desktops and integrate it with the wide variety of applications that you are already using?

  4. User acceptance
    This question really just deals with whether or not your employees will be able to use and to accept biometric scanning. It just freaks some people out. Other people really like it. But will your employees be able to use it, or will they be too confused? If they are always calling for help or mucking up the system, then it just plain is not worth it and you should choose something that they are comfortable with. Or you should plan an intense training session to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to how to use the technology.

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Posted by DF
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