TBS explains how access control systems are made increasingly secure with touchless biometric components.
Security has been redefined in the last few decades; robust physical barriers and intimidating personnel are simply not enough to meet demanding security standards. It has become fundamentally holistic. Today’s security is a confluence of physical barriers, sensors and intelligent software which, combined with the right behaviours and processes, provide a higher degree of identity and data management.
The presence of security in our everyday lives and the spaces where we work or enjoy our free time has become far more ubiquitous and yet, the multiple security systems have become seamlessly integrated. As a result, security is a balancing act between safety and freedom, protection and accessibility.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that, even amid tragic natural or human disruption, security cannot take a step back. Certain fundamental infrastructures of our society must keep working flawlessly and therefore it is our duty to keep securing their access. Examples of such highly interdependent critical elements are healthcare systems, public safety, government bodies, energy and utilities infrastructures. Many of current critical infrastructures, government services, organisations and businesses are utterly dependent on online services.
Access control is the key security discipline for protecting sites and resources by allowing or limiting access according to pre-defined authorisation rules. Access control has evolved immensely over the years and is no longer an array of essentially isolated mechanical parts and barriers, where the weakest link could lead to extensive harm; it is now a more integrated, converged set of intelligent subsystems where digitalisation provides the base for real time management of access rights.
Modern access control systems are built around networks which provide identity recognition, coordination and intelligent response specific for each person.
External tokens – including cards and mobile phones – represent the token itself; PIN and passwords identify a piece of known information. None of these technologies identify the bearer and only biometrics can perform this task. Hence, when it comes to securing access control systems, biometrics is the wiser route. Biometrics provide identification which cannot be questioned thanks to its end-to-end holistic approach to security.
Touchless access solutions
Of all technologies being put forward currently to authenticate users, touchless solutions have been experiencing a resurgence. A touchless access control system ensures restricted entry to an area or resource using contactless sensors. In the past, choosing contactless technologies such as RFID cards, Bluetooth transceivers or barcode readers meant compromising on security. Up to 90% of biometrics were touch fingerprint by the turn of the century. But this trend has been inverted in the last decade and nowadays touchless biometrics are the gold standard to securely authenticate access.
Iris and face biometrics are the two most commonly available technologies in the touchless biometrics market. However, not all touchless biometric sensors are created equal. Fingerscan continues to be the most secure and flexible form of identification – TBS was the first biometrics manufacturer ‘marrying’ the accuracy of fingerprint scans with the convenience of a touchless solution; this also eases concerns regarding hygiene. TBS is also still the only company providing a truly 3D technology. The result is a touchless fingerscan sensor, capable of reading a fingerprint image in astounding detail from nail-to-nail.
Choosing the right biometric solution
The quality of available biometric solutions varies widely depending, intrinsically, on the demographic setting, the environment where the device will be used, the resolution of the captured image and the quality of the algorithm that creates the digital template.
Whilst some technologies trade off user acceptability at the cost of accuracy, others simply cannot easily overcome unfavourable conditions such as light sources or temperature. In addition to this, others would always require an additional authentication token to overcome what is in practice a weak biometric method, be it from an image or algorithm quality perspective.
Fingerprint will remain one of the most easily adopted technologies due to its wide adaptability and intuitiveness. In fact, some of the most accurate biometric sensors are fingerprint; this technology has matured with decades of research, development, commercial application and deployment. It is also based on a very stable and agile part of the body. Among fingerprint, touchless scans are a far more accurate and precise method. The touchless fingerprint sensor offers superior security and an even more gratifying experience for the user – it’s smooth, flawless and always hygienic to use.
Any contactless technology that highlights hygienic solutions is grabbing attention. However, such biometric solutions should not be limited to health concerns. Firstly, pandemics come and go but hygiene considerations will always stay. Secondly, the benefits of touchless biometric reach beyond safety. It is also about convenience. It allows us to carry things while we are identified, not having to keep with us wallets with cards, not to remember yet another PIN or password – things that could be lost, stolen or forgotten.
Security in access control
The next generation of access control systems are seamlessly integrated, identity-centric, interoperating and converging with other systems. Such systems will be built upon web APIs, offering limitless integration possibilities. In this context, cloud-based architectures can congregate in a single system – a seamless physical, cyber and identity security management one with the ability to be scalable or highly contained.
The future of access control is here. Mobile and wearable devices allied with touchless biometric authentication will connect us more with other systems and machines. Cloud-based systems will permit more, better quality data to be analysed and will provide us with intelligence. AI and blockchain technology will protect data and ensure privacy. Security-as-a-service and a solution-based approach will provide us tailormade, on-demand safety.
At the centre of this evolution, true identity access management will inevitably include a touchless biometric component.
To find out more information, visit: https://tbs-biometrics.com/en/
This article was originally published in the October edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.