Locked Down: Are Fingerprint Readers Right for Workstations?

Locked Down: Are Fingerprint Readers Right for Workstations?

Locked Down: Are Fingerprint Readers Right for Workstations?

Biometrics as identification has been so commonplace these days. Our beloved smartphones have long used biometrics as a way to personalize and secure who can access our personal phones. Fingerprint scanners and facial recognition to this day are common biometric identifiers in smartphones among many other applications that require highly exclusive security access.

Likewise, companies are moving towards biometrics identification to protect their precious data. These systems use the biometrics of authorized personnel as templates and compare them to previous records to reach the time someone tries to gain access. The person is granted access only if there is a match.

Let’s explore more about biometric cybersecurity and more specifically, how fingerprint readings can be used to allow exclusive access to company data.

What’re the main types of biometrics?

Fingerprints, facial, voice, iris, and even palm patterns can be used for biometric identification.

Because of the low cost of fingerprint scanning technology, it is more widespread in use. However, iris scanners are the most reliable and accurate biometric identifier if security is a fundamental concern.

Biometric authentication is growing in popularity due to its ease of use; it doesn’t require that authorized personnel carry around any tokens such as key cards or remember passwords when using biometric identifiers.

Biometric scanners are connected to databases that store and compare data. Biometric software is able to convert scanner biometric data into a digital format and compares it with previously recorded data match points to prove a match.

Biometric data is usually encrypted to protect privacy and is saved on remote servers or devices.

Where are fingerprint readers used?

Every individual on earth has a unique fingerprint. The patterns of friction ridges for each individual is different from another, even identical twins have different fingerprints to set them apart. Fingerprints are difficult to alter, and they remain durable over an individual’s lifetime. This has made fingerprints the ideal way to identify an individual.

Hence, fingerprints are excellent for security biometrics and are used frequently by police stations, security industries, and more ubiquitous than ever, smartphones.

What does a fingerprint scanner see?

There are multiple ways fingerprint scanners are able to read and interpret biometric data.

  • Optical scanners: uses a camera to take a digital image of the fingerprint
  • Capacitive or CMOS scanners: electrical current from capacitors form an image of a fingerprint. These are highly precise scanners
  • Ultrasonic fingerprint scanners: high-frequency sound waves are used to penetrate the outermost layer of skin.
  • Thermal scanners: sense the temperature difference between the ridges and values of a fingerprint to create an imprint.

Out of all of the above options, capacitive scanners are the most accurate because a 2D imprint of a fingerprint won’t fool it like we always see in the movies.

Biometric data at workstations

With the increasingly popular hybrid workplace model that we have adopted post-pandemic, remote working has become a way of life.

This poses a security threat to companies when employees in remote locations start to access secure company files via shared home/building wifi and also use their personal devices for office work.

Putting biometric identification scanners can help secure cloud applications, and shared drives, and in turn, avoid any cybersecurity threats that might come up with this modern workplace model.

Benefits of biometric security system

Biometrics is a great security measure because of the uniqueness of every fingerprint. Below are more reasons why we think a biometrics security system can be a good investment.

  • No need for replaceable tokens

If you need to verify your identity using your fingerprint, the odds are that your fingers are always with you and it’s hard to lose. Therefore, there is no replacement of any tokens that can rack up more company expenses each time an employee loses their identification token.

  • Need for less security staff

The fully automated nature of biometric data makes it possible for it to function with fewer security personnel. Your company can save the costs of hiring whole security staff to safeguard company property/information.

  • Highly efficient

If you have ever used a fingerprint scanner, you would know that identification is almost instantaneous. This is much more convenient than having to input a password/PIN/ or any other form of identity authentication method.

  • Hard to duplicate

We have already established that fingerprints are always unique hence, the possibility for duplication is very minute.

  • Fingerprints are set for life

Fingerprints remain the same throughout one’s life hence, you can identify your employees for life if needed using the same fingerprint records.

Disadvantages of a biometric security system

  • Hard to recover from a data breach

If your biometric security system suffers from a data breach, chances are that your system is null and void. Biometric security systems are an expensive company investment, and you would have to take more precautions to safeguard such highly sensitive data.

  • Scanning challenges

Depending on the reliability of your chosen fingerprint scanner, there might be minor challenges associated. As mentioned earlier, CMOS scanners are the most reliable fingerprint scanner type.

  • Need for technical expertise

To ensure that your biometrics security system is running correctly, you would have to invest in the right type of technical support along with the expensive equipment cost.

  • Weather impact

Trying to scan your fingerprint during the winter month can be a difficult challenge. This can cause unnecessary system alerts and breakdowns that won’t otherwise be there during warmer months.

Ways to improve biometrics security

In addition to biometrics that is physiological such as a fingerprint or iris scan, being able to find a match using behavioral biometrics can be a way to improve. Liveness detection can be used to detect that the biometrics used are a match but also to verify that the person trying to access your systems is physically standing there in order to access it. This would be useful to avoid people trying to fool biometric scanners with 2D impressions.

Multifactor authentication can reduce the likelihood of such dishonest attempts.

Who has access to biometric data should also closely be monitored.

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