It’s time to say goodbye to fingerprint scanners and hail the era of personal biometric cards


Amid the current coronavirus pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that fingerprint scanners, which force users to touch potentially contaminated surfaces, are no longer an adequate means of on-site access control. job. While many businesses are following government guidelines for shutting down and encouraging their staff to work from home, there are still critical organizations that must remain open and active to serve our public.

From airports to hospitals to supermarkets, fingerprint scanning is often used to identify and register passengers, employees and customers. Construction workers also continue to visit busy construction sites despite the government’s crackdown on social distancing. On construction sites, although an increasing number of hand sanitizing stations have been installed at the site, workers still use fingerprint scanners to access the site when entering or exiting. These fingerprint scanners require people to touch the same surface, which could potentially be contaminated with bacteria or spread an infection.

In this changing world, it is becoming evident that fingerprint scanners are not the most hygienic authentication method. But at the same time, UK businesses are spending more than two months resetting staff passwords. Another portion of the time is spent replacing traditional employee access cards that have been lost, stolen or misplaced.

And of course, protecting data and information is still important to all businesses today, thanks to the heavy fines imposed for GDPR violations. On top of that, the rise of the “bring your own device” trend – which over 46% of businesses have already embraced – has increased security risks and made corporate passwords inappropriate.

Therefore, it is obvious that a safer – and hygienic – solution for access to the workplace is needed. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 40% of companies plan to adopt biometric technology for information security. But it is important that it is a technology that provides safety, hygiene and convenience to both businesses and end users.

So what is the alternative?

In smart workplaces, companies can implement individual, role-based biometric access control cards, which means buildings that can automatically register that employees have logged in. called commercial building automation. Smart workplace solutions are designed to improve productivity and enable employees to work more efficiently and comfortably, allowing businesses to focus on their customers. For many businesses, a smart workplace offers a number of benefits and is more than just a “fancy gadget”.

Implementing role-based access

Instead of relying on a reader-based sensor, biometric fingerprint authentication is better introduced on individual employee ID cards. This means that each user can confirm their identity, role and access level by scanning their fingerprint on their own personal card, eliminating the need to share devices.

It is also crucial to help companies adopt the “zero trust model” in the workplace and to ensure that sensitive company information and office spaces remain protected. With health concerns in mind, it’s now important for businesses to do this without having to rely on common fingerprint sensors or manual scanning devices.

Of course, it is also crucial to ensure the security of personal data. During card registration or work on-boarding process, the employee’s fingerprint image can be scanned by the biometric card sensor and then converted to a biometric template. The model is then encrypted and stored in the secure element of the card chip. This means that personal data never leaves the ID card – and is not stored in a central database. Thus, if the smart card is stolen, the templates cannot be hacked or reveal the user’s biometric fingerprint.

The biometric access card will also remove the ability for employees to share passwords and ID cards, while improving authentication accuracy and reducing friction.

The future of the smart workplace

A biometric access card not only increases security and saves users from having to scan their fingerprints on dirty reading devices. When paired with a smart workplace, it can also increase the level of customization an employee can experience across the office and reduce the need for mundane processes.

A smart workplace uses IoT technology, such as sensors, connected devices, and networked platforms, to streamline and even improve the office experience. With a biometric fingerprint ID card, a smart office can recognize the employee when they are on the move, which means they can work more efficiently, minimize disruption in the workplace and improve their working day. .

For example, do you like your meeting room warmer, brighter, or quieter than everyone else? Swiping around the room with your personal fingerprint-authorized access card can automate your preferences, saving you time and space for thinking. You can focus on the task at hand, and your businesses can focus on customers.

Smart, safe and secure workplaces

Until recently, most of us relied heavily on remotes, swipe cards, keys, passwords, and PINs to authenticate, access, or clock in our workplaces. These authentication methods are either difficult to remember or can easily be lost and stolen. Contactless biometric access control cards will create a smart office that will help businesses save countless hours by resetting employee passwords and reduce the risk of access cards being lost or stolen, while maintaining personal hygiene when we need it most.

As we move towards the ‘new normal’, contactless fingerprint authentication is increasingly seen as a necessary measure to protect both businesses and individuals from the spread of viruses and the potential threats of. cybersecurity. Contactless biometric fingerprint ID cards will not only allow the right person to gain access to a building or network, but will also help minimize the spread of germs and viruses through shared touchpoints on the premises. fingerprint or hand sensors in the future.

In this unprecedented time, we all look to our workplaces for guidance and to ensure our safety at work. By implementing biometrics with individual occupational safety passes, the workplaces of the future will see improved levels of hygiene, convenience and security.

David Orme, Senior Vice President, IDEX Biometrics ASA


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