Access Control – Technology & Solutions

Bringing Biometrics to the door and across the Enterprise

Biometrics fuse convenience and security while validating “true identity” versus identity that is associated with possessing an ID card (or mobile credential on a smartphone). It also offers numerous benefits for access control and other enterprise applications, according to Wayne Pak, Director of Product Marketing, Physical Access Control with HID Global.

With the emergence of new anti-spoofing capabilities and its integration into secure platforms that protect privacy and support numerous credential technologies, biometric authentication is poised to deliver a much higher matching speed and better overall performance along with improved security and user convenience.

According to the firm ABI Research in its May 2018 study titled Biometric Technologies and Applications, the total fingerprint sensor shipments for the entire consumer market is "estimated to reach 1.2 billion worldwide for 2018, thus ensuring its market dominance." This represents a significant market opportunity for integrators, who can help their customers specify the best products and technologies for their application.

Wayne Pak, HID Global
Wayne Pak, Director of Product Marketing, Physical Access Control, HID Global.

"Many technologies are still vulnerable to spoofs and hacking. It has been far too easy for fraudsters to create a fake fingerprint and present it to a reader. Equally troublesome, older products have not been able to move users through the doors as fast as a simple ID card and reader", states Wayne Pak.

"In general, all fingerprint capture technologies are not equal among older products, and there can be significant differences in performance. Newer solutions are overcoming these security and convenience hurdles to help realise the full potential of biometrics."

Key areas
According to Wayne Pak, development of the latest solutions has focused on the following key areas:

  • Improving image capture: Many customers choose sensors that use multispectral imaging because it optimises the quality of the captured mage, and illuminates the skin at different depths to collect information from inside the finger to augment available surface fingerprint data. Additionally, the multispectral sensors work for the broadest range of people with normal, wet, dry or damaged fingers, across the widest range conditions (from lotions or grease to sunlight, wet, cold conditions).
  • Liveness detection to enhance trust: An increasingly visible dimension of biometric performance in commercial applications, liveness detection is the ability to determine that the biometric data captured by the fingerprint reader is from a real, living person rather than a plastic fake or other artificial copy. This is critical if biometrics are to eliminate the need to use PINs or passwords. It also protects privacy – if you can't use a fake finger, then even if you did obtain someone's fingerprint data, it is meaningless.
  • Optimising performance: The top performing solutions capture usable biometric data on the first attempt for every user and speed up the liveness detection process. They quickly perform template matching to reject impostors and match legitimate users, and should be tested by skilled and independent third parties for interoperability so that performance is based on data that can be trusted in all template matching modes.

Security and accessibility
Incorporating biometrics into access control systems requires a secure trust platform designed to meet the concerns of accessibility and data protection in a connected environment. The platform should leverage credential technology that employs encryption and a software based infrastructure to secure identities on any form factor for trusted access to doors, IT networks and beyond. This system also should encompass remote management of all readers and users, spanning all onboarding as well as template loading and enrolment activities for supported authentication modes.

"Tools should be available to allow system administrators to manage all configuration settings from time and data to language, security and synchronisation. Additionally, the system should enable continuous live monitoring of authentication, alerts and system health", comments Wayne Pak. "To simplify deployment, application programming interfaces (APIs) should be available for direct integration of biometrics authentication solutions with the access control infrastructure."

Privacy protection
Integrators can also help their customers ensure that solutions protect user privacy. Biometrics data must be handled like all sensitive and identifying information, and properly architected system designs will always consider and protect against both internal and external threats and attacks. New system architectures and data models have been created to protect personal information and maintain user privacy.

"Beyond the encryption of the data itself, there are now many good alternatives available for building highly secure and well protected systems, including the use of multi-factor and even multi-modal authentication to maintain security, even if some identifying data is compromised," says Wayne Pak.

Viable option for access
Today's fingerprint authentication solutions are on a fast track to deliver a unique combination of ease of use and higher security to access control systems, according to Wayne Pak, who sees a bright future for this technology.

"With their latest enhancements in liveness detection, system architectures and performance, they seamlessly combine security and convenience to make them a viable option for secure access to facilities, networks and services", he concludes.

Note: This editorial article has primarily been produced for the security trade magazine Detektor in collaboration with

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