How does biometric access work?

How does biometric access work?

Access controls are a popular security system because they combine security and convenience. It is a concept that refers to the management of an access point, such as a door, an elevator, or a garage, to allow entry only to authorized users. Hence, it can be understood that doors are the most common application of access controls. Nowadays, biometric accesses are very common.

Types of access control depending on what they depend on

The access classes can be based on several variants.

1. In the objects that the user has to access: The user must have a specific thing to access, such as a key, a keychain or an identification card.

2. What the user knows (based on information)

In this case, the user must know a specific code to gain access. This code can be a password, a passphrase or a PIN.

3. Who is the user (based on biometric data)

The user is identified with her own body through biometrics. Common biometric modalities include:

  • palm vein
  • Fingerprint
  • iris scan
  • face recognition

Vulnerability of traditional access control systems

Traditional access systems have a critical vulnerability: objects and data can be shared or stolen, allowing someone other than the intended user to access the facility if they obtain it.

This may or may not be a big deal depending on the required level of security.

For example, many coffee shops use a keypad on the restroom door with the access code (usually just four digits) printed on the receipt so that visitors can’t just walk in, use the restroom, and leave without asking for anything.

However, such a security system is not fit for anything that requires more serious protection. The problem with access codes is that because they are just information, they can be easily shared and distributed among an infinite number of people, even if they are not authorized.

Physical access tokens (such as keys, key fobs, and ID cards) share a similar vulnerability: they can be easily lost or stolen, allowing whoever has access to the token to gain access to the facility, regardless of whether the person accessing It is licensed.

Biometrics, however, does not have this vulnerability. Because your unique biometric code is always with you, it is very difficult for someone else to access it.

So while not all biometrics are created equal in terms of security, even some of the least secure biometric systems are still more secure than traditional security systems.
The main benefits of biometrics in access control


Security: it is a system inherent to the user, challenging to duplicate and with easy permission management

Convenience: Can’t be lost or forgotten, easy access and efficiency (most biometric sensors can identify a user in less than a second)

Cost reduction: Fewer security personnel are needed, and replacement cost is zero

As for the most used biometric sensors, one of them is the fingerprint

In conclusion, we can say that biometrics is fast becoming the preferred option for access control purposes. Military-grade security, combined with increased convenience and reduced costs, make it an obvious choice over traditional access systems.

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