Using a fingerprint access control system is one way you can effectively control access to your buildings and properties.
Fingerprint security is one of the more accessible forms of biometric access control, and installing a system on your property is a good investment for the safety and security of your building and employees.
Here, we’ll review what a fingerprint access control system is and how it works. We’ll also walk you through how to install a fingerprint access control system for your commercial building or business and why it might be the right choice for you.
What is a Fingerprint Access Control System?
A fingerprint access control system is one part of a security system that can help keep unwanted people out of your property while easily allowing authorized people in. Users scan their fingerprints to be granted entrance onto the property.
Fingerprint control systems allow for a relatively high level of security because they require the user to be present when their biometric data is scanned, unlike a barcode reading system.
This type of biometric access control system is also ideal for administrators and users because it’s easy to use. For employees and other people entering the building, entry is quick with fingerprints and biometric access control devices because they don’t need to remember PIN codes or bring a key card.
For building owners and administrators, it provides a high level of security and an extra layer of protection since it’s difficult for someone to trick the biometric security system.
A fingerprint is a form of biometric access control; other types of biometric access control systems include facial recognition, iris scanning, voice recognition, and more.
How Does a Fingerprint Access Control System Work?
Fingerprint access control systems connect with your overall access control and security system in your building.
A fingerprint reader is installed at any entrance you want to control access. A user places their finger on the scanner, and it collects their fingerprint. Their fingerprint is then run against a database of fingerprints in the fingerprint security system.
They will gain access if their fingerprint matches the biometric template in the database. They are not granted access if the fingerprint scan does not match the stored template.
Sometimes, their fingerprint will be recorded, and an alarm may sound if it is in sync with existing access control systems.
The existing access control system also records who was granted access and when.
When integrated with video security, the biometric access control system can also log video footage of each access fingerprint attempt to maintain security.
How to Install a Fingerprint Access Control System: A Step-by-Step Guide
The process for installing a fingerprint access control system will vary from one system to the next. Each manufacturer creates their system slightly differently.
It’s best to follow the step-by-step instructions located in the manual for the security systems you have.
However, here are some general steps to follow when installing a fingerprint access control system:
- Decide where you want your fingerprint scanners to be located. You’ll need to install mounting equipment at each scanner location. In most cases, you’ll need to screw the mounting equipment to a wall or secure location outside a door or other entrance.
- You can also mount fingerprint readers at exits to track when people enter and exit the building. Installing your scanner about 4.5 to 5 feet off the ground is generally recommended. It is a comfortable height for most people to place their fingers on the scanner.
- Secure the fingerprint scanners onto each mounting device. Fingerprint scanners are the type of biometric devices that you will use for identity authentication. The hardware will grant or deny access and can send an alert to the access control system.
- Once your fingerprint readers are in place, you must install any drivers and software needed to run the system. You will need software and drivers to operate or access information about the system.
- Connect the fingerprint scanner to a door sensor, alarm, locking device, ethernet cable, and any existing access control system. It will allow the door to open or unlock when an authorized person scans their fingerprint. It can also trigger an alarm if an unauthorized person attempts to enter your property.
- Connect your fingerprint scanner and other biometric security system components to a power source. Be sure you do this only after all the other physical installation steps are complete.
- After you have the biometric readers, in this instance a fingerprint reader, installed in the correct locations and the system set up and running, you need to power on the device and set admins and their passwords. You can always go back and edit admins and passwords later.
- Next, running a test user is a good idea to ensure everything works correctly. Register a fingerprint and assign it permission to open a door. Then, have that user scan their finger to gain entry. If everything works properly, you can move on to the final step.
- Now, you need to register each user and record their fingerprint. You must also set up groups and assign permissions to authorized users like security staff. As users come and go into your organization, you can revisit this step. Consider having each user do a test run after recording their fingerprint to make sure their user profile is working correctly.
Once your system is installed, you can continue adding or deleting users and updating them as needed.
Why Install a Fingerprint Access Control System
There are many benefits to installing a fingerprint access control system.
Fingerprint scanners are accessible to users, offering high security for building owners and system administrators.
Everybody has unique characteristics of fingerprints, and it’s challenging for people to attempt to duplicate biometrics.
It’s also a simple way for employers to track who is in the building. With scanners at entrances and exits, fingerprint systems can be used as time clocks for employees and avoid unauthorized visitors.
Fingerprint access control is also a relatively inexpensive form of biometric access control. It’s also a great long-term system because you’ll never need to purchase key cards, fobs, or other devices for employees.
Is It Safe & Reliable?
Fingerprint recognition is generally considered safe and reliable for access control and authentication purposes, unlike access cards and pin codes.
Fingerprint patterns are unique to each individual, making them a robust and difficult-to-forge form of authentication in door locks or secure areas.
However, addressing environmental factors, privacy concerns, and potential limitations is crucial when implementing such systems.
Organizations should also consider the specific context and requirements of their security needs when choosing a biometric authentication method.
Barriers to Fingerprint Access Control Systems Adaptation
Fingerprint door locks require physical contact with the reader, which could be better in large, high-traffic multifamily buildings, especially during flu seasons.
Also, fingerprint access may not work for individuals with calluses or scars on their fingertips, potentially causing authentication failures.
Registering residents and staff members into the system requires scheduling each person individually to input their fingerprints. This process can be cumbersome for large multifamily buildings with numerous residents.
The storage and protection of fingerprint data centers may raise privacy concerns for users. Organizations must implement robust security measures to safeguard this sensitive biometric information.
Other Types of Biometric Access Control Systems
Aside from fingerprint-based systems, facial recognition, eye scans, retinal scans, and iris scans are part of the biometric access control solutions that have emerged as powerful tools for enhancing security and convenience.
Facial Recognition Door Locks
Facial recognition systems employ high-resolution cameras and advanced algorithms to capture and analyze unique facial features, such as the arrangement of eyes, nose, and mouth.
Facial scans offer a convenient and non-intrusive way for individuals to gain access, as users must be in front of the camera for authentication.
Eye Scan Door Locks (Retinal Scan)
Retinal scan biometric technology utilizes infrared light to capture the distinctive patterns of blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye as part of the identity authentication process.
Iris recognition systems analyze the intricate patterns within the colored part of the eye, known as the iris. Iris recognition systems analyze the intricate patterns in the colored part of the eye (the iris).
Can I use a fingerprint access control system in harsh environments?
Yes, some systems are designed for rugged environments, but not all. Be sure to choose a system that meets your installation’s environmental conditions.
Look for ruggedized scanners and access control panels that are dust- and water-resistant, built to withstand extreme temperatures.
However, other biometric systems can be used in harsh environments if you prefer highly secure biometric authentication.
What if I have a cut or injury on my fingerprint?
Minor cuts or injuries may not significantly impact recognition, but deep cuts or severe damage to physical characteristics could lead to authentication issues.
Consider using an alternative method or another finger for authentication in such cases.
Can multiple fingerprints be enrolled in the system?
Yes, a fingerprint access control solution typically allows multiple fingerprints to be enrolled for each authorized user, providing flexibility and convenience.
It adds an extra layer of security and protection since it still uses biometrics. They can enroll several fingers, which is extremely useful under different conditions, such as if one finger is injured or dirty.