By Marius Coetzee, CEO of South African Identity management experts Ideco
Biometrics can provide the organisation an intelligent balance of security and convenience if implemented and managed correctly
Biometrics has often been considered a risky and unreliable investment for many organisations. Its rocky reputation influenced by poorly managed and integrated installations seldom factor in key considerations such as the environment, operational impact and legalities. However, the Goode Intelligence study, found that biometric authentication delivers improved security and compliance benefits, and allows for a balance between security and convenience without compromising on either. Biometrics can provide the organisation with a balanced and accessible authentication platform that supports the customer, the business and an omnichannel strategy, but it has to be implemented correctly.
To minimise frustration and to help customers protect their investment, there are seven steps that should be taken from first consideration through to final implementation. The first is to assess the business to determine whether or not biometrics is a good fit. Different types of biometric identification introduce their own metrics and requirements and are better suited to different working conditions. By selecting the right solution for the environment, the business can ensure the safety and security of staff at various sites across different locations. Before opting into a specific biometric solution, the business should also establish the risk associated with visitor, Union concerns or challenges, hygiene factors and the ongoing operational expenses.
The second step is to ensure that every individual at the organisation is uniquely enrolled into the solution and that the enrolment process follows the highest standards. If using fingerprint verification, the quality of the prints can be enhanced by using prescan treatment or a technique know as ‘milking the finger’ to raise the fingerprint ridges and improve the quality of the reference fingerprint. It is also essential to get every indivudal’s consent before embarking on the process as this will not only encourage buy-in from employees but may mitigate concerns raised by Unions.
The third step is to select a biometrics solution that delivers precisely what your organisation requires and that ticks the boxes of accuracy, reliability and performance. There is a difference in performance between solutions that are average versus those that are best in class. In example, selecting biometric readers that are immune to electro-static discharge, capable of extracting clear images and fast in finding an accurate match, are all critical to ensure a good user experience It’s also advisable to work with a system that offers extensive interoperability, provides assurance in the integrity of the system through the use of common testing criteria, and doesn’t force vendor lock-in.
In fourth position is the need to assess the impact of a biometric solution on existing IT infrastructure by determining network capacity, server and software requirements, and integration into other systems such as payroll or operations. A comprehensive assessment of the business will allow for a more seamless integration that takes all the unique business factors into consideration. This is further supported by the fifth consideration – appointing a certified installer – only work with a company that has a solid reputation and that delivers a solid solution from the outset.
The sixth point ties in neatly with the fifth, ensure that your biometrics partner offers you after sales support, a warranty program and future-proof foundation that’s capable of integrating next generation technology. Finally, ensure that any biometric implementation carefully considers all the legal implications by ensuring that all employees and individuals give consent, that there is a policy in place for if something goes wrong, and that you’re completely aware of what to do in the event of a breach or data loss. Biometric records can be used in a court of law so it is critical to ensure that all governance, risk and compliance requirements are met.
By working with a reputable partner that invests into best in class technology with futureproof capability, strong after sales support, high-end enrolment policies and business relevant applications, you are setting your biometric system up for success. It is a complex but robust technology that required due diligence and intelligent application to ensure that any implementation is both sustainable and successful.