How Do Biometric Systems Work

Some organizations employ security personnel to guard their premises and monitor access thereto. Security guards use keys to open and lock access points, dispense employee cards or tokens or passwords. This security system is susceptible to acts of corruption,and / or theft of information and assets. Cards, keys and locks will regularly need to be replaced. Buddy-clocking is another issue – employees defraud the company by clocking for one another, giving someone else their password or card.

The aim of this article is to explain how biometric systems work to secure premises, assets and information and to monitor personnel movements.

What is a biometric system?

A biometric system is essentially a pattern recognition system which identifies an employee by determining the authenticity of a specific and unique anatomical or behavioral characteristic. Biometric systems typically utilize two modes:

  • when *identifying*, the reader will be determining who the person is
  • when *verifying*, the reader will be determining if a person is who s/he says s/he is.

Biometric technology utilizes the following identifiers, inter alia:

  • fingerprint
  •  iris
  •  retina
  • hand
  •  palm
  •  vein
  •  face

There are also *behavioral biometric technologies* which identify a person using his/her unique behaviour styles.
Behavioral technologies utilize the following identifiers, inter alia:

  •  voice
  •  keystroke
  •  gait
  • signature.

Biometric devices use a scanner and software that translates data into a digital form and compares this data with a pre-recorded biometric database (refer to diagram 1.1). Enrolment entails converting a unique characteristic into a template which identifies the specific points of data. Using an algorithm, these match points are processed into a value that can be compared with biometric data in the database. Templates are stored in a secure central database.


Diagram 1.1. _A basic diagram of a biometric system_

Biometrics preclude illegal access because the authorised person actually has to be there to gain access.
Biometric systems can also be used as a highly effective time-and-attendance system.

With technology in the biometric industry changing every day, we are seeing new devices that are more accurate, cost-effective and easy to install. *Anviz* readers fit all these criteria. The holding Anviz company has appointed “Itatec”: as the official representative and sole supplier to the South African market.

Biometric systems save time, energy and money.