Technology opened up doors to new possibilities across different fields. Today, security experts employ some of the most sophisticated technology to offer state of the art security services. Until two decades ago, the best home and commercial security locking systems employed deadbolt and pin mechanism to provide security. Innovation has since introduced biometric technology to both residential and commercial locks.
Biometric locks rely on human-specific features such as fingerprints, facial, iris, palm veins and voice recognition for access control. Higher-level biometric access control use features such as the human ear, heart rate and some even, DNA. Biometric locks offer superiority over conventional locks. Such include enhanced access control and better maintenance. Even more, you can even set up an emergency locksmith service through remote access.
Biometric access control has its shortcomings. Unlike conventional locks which use key and pin mechanism to grant access, biometric locks rely on physical traits. Iris, fingerprints, palm veins, voice, and facial features are unique to each person. This uniqueness proves advantageous when offering an advanced level of access control, but it also works against it. Physical traits used by biometric locks are unchangeable. This, in turn, poses a challenge in key management. For instance, a major departmental reshuffle in a commercial setup requires the institution to re-capture the biometric data of all personnel and re-assign it with new clearance levels. A process that is both time consuming and expensive when you compare it to the simpler key-swap management strategy.
Biometric access control also faces the constant threat of breach. You see, the biometric data that such locks rely on needs to be stored in a server, under the custody of the institution, or a specific organization tasked with managing it. Such data when stored in a physical server can easily be stolen. Biometric data in cloud servers are also known to be breached by hackers who need access to your home or commercial premises. Breach of such data jeopardizes the entire biometric lock system.
Biometric locks, as sophisticated as they are, are still far from perfect. The biometric sensors are known to give two types of errors when they age; false acceptance rate (FAR) and false rejection rate (FRR). The former occurs when the biometric lock accepts biometric input from an unauthorized person while the latter occurs when it rejects biometric input from an authorized person.
Additionally, biometric access control faces threat from electromagnetic pulse (EMP). It is a surge of a wave that cuts the electric and magnetic power of different machines in its wave blast range. An unauthorized person can gain access to your home or office by simply releasing such a blast from an EMP. This renders the access control feature of the biometric lock obsolete, and the door simply swings open.
Persons with physical disabilities may find themselves unable to use a biometric access-controlled environment. The visually impaired may not have the option to use iris recognition while those who have lost limbs may be unable to use fingerprint authentication. Regardless of this shortcoming, biometric systems offer various options of identifications so those who are visually impaired may for instance use fingerprints as a way of identification.
Despite the shortcomings, biometric access control systems are still the most trusted lock systems today. Why? Compared to conventional locks, chances of a successful breach are very minimal when using biometric systems. With time, innovation shall address the challenges and offer a better biometric access control experience.