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Biometric Locks & Security Systems

Biometric security systems identify individuals based on automated analysis of human physical characteristics. They can be used to limit access to buildings, computer systems, or even vehicles. While metal keys, key cards, passwords, and PINs can be given away or stolen, biometric security verifies that whoever seeks entry actually is authorized. It is equivalent to posting an automated guard who knows every authorized individual well and who cannot be fooled by impostors.

Biometrics can include fingerprints, shape of the hand, facial features, peculiarities of the eyes, voice, and/or handwriting. They can be used singly or in combinations. The system must maintain a database of approved individuals and their relevant physical characteristics. Each point at which access is controlled must have appropriate scanning devices.

If you are considering a biometric security system for your home or business, remember that they are not perfect. Be sure you understand the probability that an authorized person may be locked out by mistake, and what you can do in that situation. You also should know the likelihood of the opposite, that the system may erroneously admit someone who does not have clearance. To help in the second instance, you may want to combine biometrics with a traditional locking system.

Beyond the cost of initial setup, be mindful of ongoing maintenance. Learn your fallback options should the system go down, either because of malfunction or power outage. While having an alternative entry plan, think again if you introduce so many possible overrides that the system is too easily circumvented.

Pay close attention to security issues related to the database of biometric data. You must be sure that it is invulnerable to hackers who may seek to steal or alter its contents. If this database resides on premises other than your own, you have the issue of maintaining secure, reliable communications links to your site. You also should be concerned about what security measures the database managers employ to protect you.
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