Technology

Protective Patterns

New innovations in biometrics manage access control and staff attendance.

September 10, 2010
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ROI benefits

For Cameron Meldrum, product manager at ProfitStars, fingerprint-based IDs not only can be tailored to give access across multiple applications, they also present an opportunity for return on investment (ROI).

The company’s Biodentify® brand offers two products for credit unions: Employee ID and Member ID. “Employee ID is an enterprise-level, single sign-on solution,” says Meldrum. “You take it off the shelf, install it, and it’s ready to go.”

The system can take an employee’s fingerprint, attach it to an existing password and user name to establish a basic credential, and then use it across the enterprise. “Basically, our credentialing technology can assign one set of credentials to a large number of applications,” Meldrum says.

That ability is where ROI comes in. “It reduces time and management costs to administer multiple passwords, such as when employees forget passwords or when new passwords need to be set up across the enterprise,” Meldrum says. “With one password, confirmed by a fingerprint ID, it’s much simpler. And because the solution works across the enterprise with third-party applications, it lowers the number of password lockouts.”

Member ID works with a separate module from the employee ID, referring to a separate database.

“Member fingerprints are registered and linked to the various accounts a member holds at the credit union,” says Meldrum. “Members subsequently only need to have their fingerprints scanned for all their accounts to become available. The system can scan 10,000 names in less than a second, so calling up information is virtually instantaneous.”

While people are sometimes apprehensive about having their fingerprints stored, fearing theft or duplication, he says it’s virtually impossible for that to happen. “We never store an actual fingerprint in a database. Instead, we use a proprietary algorithm to capture and analyze its patterns, focusing on ‘minutiae points.’ We then create an encrypted mathematical representation of that print called a template that can’t be reverse-engineered. The template can only be read by our proprietary software.

“Biometrics is so much easier than whipping out numerous forms of ID,” Meldrum continues. “Once members get used to it, it’s hard to go back to the old way.”

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