Biometric access control: meaning, types, and implementation

Biometric access control compares patterns of individuals’ physical and behavioral characteristics to identify and grant them access to a facility,...
29 June 2023

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Biometric access control: meaning, types, and implementation

Biometric access control compares patterns of individuals’ physical and behavioral characteristics to identify and grant them access to a facility, documentation, or system.

Facial features, fingerprints, signatures, or voice are unique and non-transferable traits used as recognition patterns, among many others. 

Implementing a biometric access control system in your educational or business project offers guarantees of security to your clients and users, enhancing your brand image. We want you to understand precisely what it entails, the types available, and how to implement it in your services.

What is biometric access control?

Biometric access control identifies individuals based on their unique physical and/or behavioral characteristics. The goal is to authenticate a person’s identity to ensure secure transactions or activities. 

Examples of common activities that require this type of authentication include entering or leaving a workplace, accessing a facility, performing document-related tasks, or using a specific system or program.

Biometric access control: meaning, types, and implementation

This type of access relies on pattern recognition, comparing the collected information with previously stored data in a database. This is made possible because each human being has distinct and unique traits such as fingerprints, voice, or iris patterns, among others. 

Thus, the system emulates certain identification patterns that humans use to recognize each other.

Benefits of the biometric access control

Technological innovation is driving the adoption of biometric access, which offers advantages such as:

  1. Enhanced security: Biometric authentication provides a higher level of security compared to traditional methods like passwords or ID cards. Biometric traits such as fingerprints, facial features, or iris patterns are unique to each individual, making it difficult for unauthorized persons to gain access.
  2. Non-transferable and reliable: Biometric traits are difficult to replicate or forge, making them highly reliable for identification purposes. Unlike passwords or cards, which can be lost, stolen, or shared, biometric features are inherently tied to the individual and cannot be easily transferred.
  3. Convenience and ease of use: Biometric access control eliminates the need for carrying physical tokens or remembering complex passwords. Users can simply use their own unique biological traits for authentication, resulting in a more convenient and user-friendly experience.
  4. Fast and efficient: Biometric authentication processes are typically quick and efficient. Scanning and matching biometric features can be done in a matter of seconds, allowing for swift access to secured areas or systems.
  5. Reduced costs: Over time, biometric access control can help reduce costs associated with managing physical access cards, issuing and replacing lost cards, or resetting forgotten passwords. It streamlines the authentication process and reduces the administrative burden.
  6. Audit trail and accountability: Biometric access control systems often provide detailed audit trails that record access events. This enables better tracking and monitoring of who accessed certain areas or systems, enhancing accountability and aiding investigations if necessary.
  7. Scalability and integration: Biometric access control systems can be easily scaled to accommodate large user bases. They can integrate with existing security systems, such as CCTV cameras or alarm systems, to create a comprehensive security infrastructure.
  8. Deterrent to unauthorized access: The presence of biometric access control itself acts as a deterrent to unauthorized individuals, as the heightened security measures make it significantly more challenging to breach access points.

Biometrics can be applied across various sectors such as banking, finance, education, business, tourism, etc., thereby boosting user confidence in products or services.

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Types of biometric access control systems

In general, there are three main types of biometric access control systems:

  1. Dynamic: These controls use patterns of actions or movements.
  2. Static: They measure and compare physical characteristics.
  3. Multimodal: These controls combine the features of the previous two.

If we focus on the pattern used for identification, the following specific controls can be identified:

Facial Access Control

Recognition is performed using a photograph or image of the person, measuring parameters such as the distance between the eyes, jaw angle, nose morphology, etc.

Iris Access Control

In general, the iris pattern remains unchanged over time. It is read using an infrared camera at a close distance.

Retina Access Control

In this case, the arrangement of blood vessels in the retina is considered using an infrared camera that is safe for the eyes.

Fingerprint Access Control

Fingerprint access can be achieved in two different ways:

  • Comparing the so-called “minutiae,” specific shapes found in a fingerprint, such as ridges, bifurcations, crests, crosses, etc.
  • Comparing the overall pattern and analyzing the entirety of a person’s fingerprint.

Vascular Access Control

This control utilizes the arrangement of veins in a finger or wrist, making it an internal biometric pattern.

There are multiple software solutions available that allow you to implement biometric access control.

Hand Geometry Access Control 

The pattern of hand geometry is obtained using cameras that capture 3D images from different angles. This allows pattern comparison based on size, bone structure, or distance between joints. The recognition process ignores wounds, scars, or any superficial marks that may change over time.

Signature Access Control

This is an example of dynamic biometric access since it relies on pressure, writing speed, and acceleration when signing rather than the image of the signature.

Voice Access Control

Voice is another distinctive trait among human beings, as its sound depends on multiple factors, such as vocal cord vibrations or characteristics of the oral cavity.

Other, less common, biometric access types utilize parameters such as ear shape, DNA, the chemical composition of body odor, skin texture, etc.

How to implement the Biometric Access Control?

There are multiple software solutions available that allow you to implement biometric access control quickly and adapt them to the specific needs of the sectors in which they will be applied, such as proctoring

Biometric access control is a method of identifying individuals based on their unique physical or behavioral characteristics.

These solutions consist of a set of tools that ensure the quality and accuracy of results, as well as control against potential fraud or identity theft.

Before implementing any type of biometric access control, we recommend considering the following guidelines:

  1. Ensure privacy: The system should guarantee the privacy of individuals’ biometric data.
  1. Prevent unauthorized access to the database: Implement measures to prevent unauthorized access to the biometric database.
  1. Provide different security levels: The system should offer multiple security levels to accommodate varying access requirements.
  1. Enhance accessibility: The implementation should be user-friendly and accessible to individuals with different abilities.
  1. Ensure sufficient quality and reliability: Choose a system that meets high-quality standards, provides reliable performance, and offers guarantees.

At Smowltech, we specialize in developing flexible and scalable proctoring solutions. Our services are of high quality, competitively priced, and capable of supporting you from day one.

If you want to discover why we are leaders in our industry, request a free demo where we can share solutions that you may not be aware of but can drive your projects forward.

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