GUIDE TO BIOMETRICS BEST PRACTICES
To best leverage the advantages of biometrics, integrators should follow the tips outlined below and benefit from the two primary benefits of biometrics, which are enhanced security and convenience. These two benefits are very important, as security prevents unauthorized access by someone misusing an authorized ID badge, and convenience prevents accidental lockout when a user forgets or loses their ID badge.
While fingerprint readers are becoming even more accurate, there still may be times when some users’ fingerprints cannot be recognized. This is most often due to changing environmental variables and/or lack of user-training. Here are some useful tips to improve fingerprint recognition.
Be mindful if a user successfully enrolled their fingerprint, you should be able to match that same fingerprint 100% of the time. If however, a previous successfully enrolled finger cannot be subsequently matched, then assume something has changed since you last successfully enrolled that same user’s fingerprint. Possibilities include:
- Their finger has become dirty. (Washing it should solve the problem.)
- Their finger has become scratched. (Try enrolling a different finger.)
- The fingerprint sensor has become dirty. (Try cleaning it with a lint-free cloth.)
- There is insufficient moisture on their finger. (They should rub their finger against their forehead or cheek to obtain oil from their skin and try again. Fingerprints are just like rubber stamps. If a rubber stamp has too little ink, then it makes a poor image. Rubber stamps need ink. Fingerprints need moisture.)
- The biometric reader has become damaged. Contact your supplier to have the reader fixed or replaced.
If you are unable to enroll a user’s fingerprints, try the following:
- Lower the threshold setting on the reader (which desensitizes the fingerprint scanner)
- Change from 1:N fingerprint-matching to 1:1 fingerprint-matching.
Note that 1:1 matching requires the user first enter their User ID# prior to presenting their fingerprint. Although 1:1 matching is a 2-step process, 1:1 actual “matching process” is faster and more reliable than 1:N matching.
IF ALL ABOVE TIPS FAIL
It’s possible the condition of the workplace (i.e. dirty/dusty), weather (very cold/arid) or employee demographics (ages younger than 10 years or older than 65 years) may contribute to less than optimal fingerprint recognition results. If this is the case, then consider other biometric technologies that are not obscured by working conditions, such as face recognition, vein-pattern recognition, iris recognition, etc.
Lastly, it’s possible that based on your environment, users and/or budget that a traditional card-based access control system is best suited for you.
Biometrics is a “credential”, just as metal keys, access badges or PIN codes are. Each credential has its advantages and disadvantages. And under certain circumstances, every type credential can fail or have difficulty, including a metal key that wasn’t copied precisely and can't open a door lock easily. Likewise, biometrics requires the cooperation of users. If they need access, they will learn how to “cooperate” with the biometric reader. But unless the owner/manager ensures their employees are “cooperating” . . . often employees will not cooperate and claim the biometric reader doesn’t work.
15 min introductory video: https://youtu.be/23kK1bnw8dY
Biometrics does provide the highest level of security and convenience. But just like a slightly imperfect metal key, biometrics requires the cooperation of users to make it work.