For many people in the technology sector, data center security and the value of information has been at the forefront of media attention for most of 2013. Revelations about how easy it is to not only get access to that data but also how much it is worth have ensured that traditional methods of user identification or authentication such as ID cards and passwords are no longer considered to be adequate protection from malicious intent.
And it is for that very reason that biometric security is quickly being accepted as the most effective solution.
In recent studies, biometric access control has been found to be remarkably adept in terms of providing 100 percent physical security at potential points of vulnerability in data centers, with physical attributes or traits replacing easily lost or misplaced forms of company ID. And while biometrics has been used in law enforcement and border control for some considerable time, it is fast becoming the go-to option for organizations that value the privacy of their critical data – both in an internal sense and, increasingly, that of customers or clients.
As with most standard security compliance protocols, there are a number of options available. There are four types of biometric recognition – fingerprints, facial, iris and DNA – and while all have individual advantages, the main consideration is that of potential replication in the future. If we consider that biometrics works as a feature extractor as opposed to an identity recognizer (passwords, PINs etc) then it follows that it has to verify the user through the physical traits noted above.
Extract measurable feature
A fingerprint scanner within a data center, for example, will match that user through the unique traits of that person’s hand, allowing it to extract measurable features and verify identity. At the same time, it confirms that the finger being presented is, to all intents and purposes, alive, providing a level of user authentication that can be easily bypassed by any person who may have access to a keycard or company-issued ID.
With that in mind, biometric access control has a significant advantage over traditional forms of identification, especially when considering that the majority of data breaches are often found to be the result of either human error or an over-reliance on cybersecurity software.
Users no longer need to remember passwords – they are the password. This means that those who would seek to gain unauthorized access to a physical facility are – quite literally sometimes – stopped in their tracks, as stealing individual human traits has, to date, been impossible to achieve. And finally, the person who needs to be identified by an access control system actually has to be there to gain entry.
Biometrics has been on the cusp of mainstream adoption for so many years that it seems strange to think that it has not been considered as the most effective way of keeping data safe and intruders out. With data center security expected to remain in the spotlight for the foreseeable future, taking the time to consider the trait of an individual could be the most prudent investment that any company can make.