April is Physical Access & Enterprise Month at FindBiometrics, throughout which we will be placing a featured focus on physical access control and enterprise-facing biometric solutions and applications. To kick things off on the right foot, as usual, here is a primer to get you up to speed on all the most recent news, research, and trends in our focus of the month.
Welcome to Physical Access & Enterprise Month!
ISC West 2016
April is a perfect time to be talking about physical access control and enterprise biometrics because right now, in Las Vegas, the ISC West security conference and exhibition is underway. Chock full of announcements and product launches, the major industry event traditionally helps define the physical access conversation for the rest of the year. Here is some of the initial news out of ISC West 2016. Stay tuned to FindBiometrics for updates as the conference continues throughout the week.
The goal of physical access control biometrics and enterprise solutions, from a vendor perspective, has always been to overcome adoption barriers. The obstacles in the way of biometrics in the workplace are cost, user acceptance, and administrator friction. Essentially: access must be accessible while still offering best-in-class security. As innovations in biometrics tech have emerged, and adequate strong authentication has become more affordable than ever before, the physical access and enterprise markets have opened right up. Technavio predicts that both the biometric workforce management and biometric physical access markets will each be worth many billions of dollars before the end of the decade.
Furthermore, we are seeing an increased acceptance of biometrics in the workplace on behalf of employees as businesses look to ditch passwords. The following links will give you a good idea of the physical access and enterprise biometrics markets:
Enterprise Authentication Platforms
Sometimes, if you just want to keep one room safe, a plug and play biometric door lock is all you need, but if you’re aiming to lock down an office or even an entire building so that only authorized personnel can access it, you need to get behind the scenes. Physical access software platforms are integral to the next gen security systems businesses are looking to implement, greatly reducing administrative friction. Using a building’s IT infrastructure, access control platforms help enterprises manage templates, permissions, credentials, and terminals.
Here is a look at some of the physical access and workforce management platforms currently available and what they have to offer:
Talking About Biometric Physical Access Control
When it comes to understanding biometric access control, nothing quite compares to a talk with the experts. The following interviews with the CEOs of BioConnect and ZKTeco provide high level insight into the world of physical access control today. Physical Access & Enterprise Month will also culminate in an exclusive expert webinar featuring a panel discussion with experts Maxine Most, Principal, Acuity Market Intelligence; Larry Reed, CEO, ZKAccess; and Rob Douglas, CEO, BioConnect. Registration is free and available through the link below.
A Truly Multimodal Area of Application
In order to be as enterprise and user friendly as possible, so as to reach desirable levels of security and convenience, biometrics in the enterprise have become fully multimodal in scope. Iris, vascular, behavioral, fingerprint, ECG signal, face, and voice biometrics all have a place in the enterprise. And it’s a good thing too: not every workplace is the same and neither is every worker. In a situation that demands workers wear gloves, a contactless modality will be preferred over fingerprint, and vice versa for facilities that require the use of face-covering safety gear. Some workers will have different needs as well, and multimodality is extremely useful in allowing a workplace to be welcoming, diverse, and secure.
Here are examples of a variety of different modalities working to bring convenience, efficiency, and security to the enterprise:
Biometrics, Smart Cards and the Enterprise
Card-based security systems have been around for a very long time, and now with the advent of biometric access control, they are being given a second chance at adequately securing the enterprise. The trouble with basic RFID key cards is that they are essentially contactless keys. They can be stolen, lost, or traded between staff, creating a vulnerability in the security ecosystem of a workplace. Adding a biometric layer to the key-card paradigm addresses this problem. Whether it’s by storing biometric templates on a smart card, adding sensor to the terminal itself, or even limiting access to the actual card via embedded fingerprint biometrics, the new generation of card-based security is here and ready to deploy.
Workforce Management, Time and Attendance
In the enterprise there is overlap in workforce management. Secure access is of the utmost importance, but so is attendance tracking. In the same way that biometrics can ensure only properly credentialed individuals are able to access areas of a facility, strong authentication can also connect them to their time tables and payroll. With biometrics, businesses can track employees’ time more efficiently and accurately while also ensuring no one is having a friend punch in for them while playing hooky (a practice colloquially known as ‘buddy punching’).
Mobility in the Enterprise
An enabler of enterprise biometrics is mobility. As we explored during Mobile Biometrics Month, biometric smartphones are giving consumers access to strong authentication and identity technologies on an unprecedented level, and now enterprise solutions are able to take advantage of this proliferation and familiarity. Of course, with new access points provided by mobile there arise new vulnerabilities. Today’s enterprise needs to be prepared to secure not only its doors and terminals, but also the smartphones and wearables of its employees.
Stay posted to FindBiometrics throughout April as we continue to examine physical access and enterprise biometrics in our featured articles section. Be sure to sign up for our upcoming webinar and follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss a beat.
April 5, 2016 – by Peter B. Counter