Biometrics and the small business

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What is biometrics?

So what is biometrics? The term almost sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. On the contrary, it’s very scientific but far from fictional. Biometrics is a field of study that concerns itself with how biological traits can be recorded and recognized. In the realm of technology, biometrics is a security technology that uses unique biological identifiers to validate permissions or access to something. Some of the more common biological traits used in these validation methods are retinal scans, fingerprint scans, and voice prints. Sounds cutting edge right? But cutting edge usually goes hand-in-hand with expensive. So what does that mean for the small business environment?

There are many practical applications for biometric security in the small business environment. The first (and some may argue the most practical) is point of entry validation. Hand scanners and fingerprint readers are becoming more common than you may realize. For example, our good friends at Wikipedia note the following, “According to Jim Wayman, director of the National Biometric Test Center at San Jose State University, Walt Disney World is the nation’s largest single commercial application of biometrics.” The theme park powerhouse uses fingerprint scanners to authenticate park visitors against their admission tickets; a security measure that seems to have proven very successful. A small business could use a similar process for authenticating employees against ID badges for example. This would be an excellent security measure for granting access to office buildings, server rooms, or human resource areas, only allowing authorized individuals to enter the area.

As biometric technology and research progress, the cost of implementation and maintenance will inevitably decrease. Prices vary but currently they seem to range from basic fingerprint deadbolts which cost around $349.00 to more elaborate iris recognition systems (from companies like Europe’s Sagem Morpho) that cost thousands of dollars. Make no doubt about it, the technology is available. However, is it worth the cost for the added peace of mind that comes with a stronger, more-secure environment? Stay tuned because I explore that very question in Part 2: Security Benefits.

This post is part of the series: Biometrics in the Small Business Environment

The word “biometrics” conjures up images of cyborgs, science-fiction movies, and futuristic realities that only exist in the realm of Hollywood. However, this technology is real, fully functional, and quite possibly coming to an office near you.

  1. Biometrics in the Small Business Environment: Part 1
  2. Biometrics in the Small Business Environment: Part 2