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Identification & Access:Security Still of Primary Concern

As financial institution security officers continue to find new ways to protect both people and property and to diminish the chance of terrorist attacks on their facilities, more of them are turning to new methods of access control. Many are finding the solutions and benefits offered by biometrics provide the answers they need. There are several proven biometric technologies currently available:

Eye Iris
Users and proponents of this technology say this technique is more specific than fingerprinting. It will work even if a person is wearing contact lenses or eyeglasses, though it will not if the eye is covered with sunglasses. The eye image is compared to a scanner that has stored 247 traits of a person's iris into a template. The image passes to a processing unit and is compared with the iris code on file. At this time, it is possibly the highest cost per installation.

Fingerprinting
The smallest and least expensive of all the identification verification readers, the device captures one or two fingers for verification, creating a template for comparison. The fingerprint readers fit into small spaces, and are good for access, or even to log onto computer networks or PCs. It's particularly desirable in place of lost or forgotten passwords which are sometimes written on or near the PC.

Facial Scans
The template records the shape of the face, the distance between the eyes, the distance from the mouth to the chin, etc. A CCTV camera image is matched against the template to verify the person's identity. Facial systems will often be combined with another technology, such as a PIN.

Hand Geometry
A hand reader evaluates the size and shape of the hand and fingers, and a three-dimensional image of four fingers and part of the hand. Hand geometry is the oldest of the biometric technologies, having been commercially available for 27 years, and continues to be the most widely used of access methods.

In most applications, the person will enter an ID number on a keypad. The reader will then prompt the person to position his hand, finger or eye where the device can scan physical details. It usually will complete verification and confirm identification in less than two seconds.

Financial institution security officers have, for years, depended on locks and keys or keypads alone for access control and verification of identity. The future, continued security of our facilities, personnel, and business practices require upgrading to other methods in order to insure a greater degree of protection and identification.

Copyright © 2003 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 13, No. 3, 10/03

First published on 10/01/2003

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