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New Biometric Latching Systems Offer New Level of Physical Security

Mon, 05/09/2011 - 6:04am
Steve Spatig, Southco Inc.
As electronic recordkeeping becomes accepted as common practice so does the risk of data being hacked, stolen or corrupted. Data centers must be on the cutting edge of access control to secure valuable business assets.

The most advanced and reliable way to physically protect critical data assets is by integrating uniform, networked biometric access control technology. Electromechanical latches with built-in biometric readers provide a cost-effective means to simplifying security administration and eliminating opportunities for physical security breaches. They also provide an indisputable access audit trail for all doors and cabinets on which they are installed.

5408067692_2b7bc6b1b4_b-webVaried Access Control Creates Security Risks
The current physical access control methods used in data security are too often a mixture of unrelated devices attempting to function as one cohesive unit. Palm readers, which are too large for server cabinet applications, are commonly found on doors, while cabinets are protected with keys, keycards, proximity readers and combination locks. Varied access control devices that are meant to protect data actually create significant security issues and challenges.

The use of proximity readers and keyed or combination locks requires personnel to carefully manage key cards, keys and combinations. Tracking which users have which keys, and retrieving and reassigning them when personnel change is a complicated task, especially within large facilities. A high number of keys increases the chance of a few being lost or stolen.

In the event of a security breach, mixed access control can make it difficult to identify the culprit, as there is no comprehensive audit trail covering all points. While palm readers can produce trails for doors, keys and combination locks on cabinets can only show which card, not necessarily which user, accessed the data.

Biometric Latching Systems Are the Future of Physical Access Control
Biometric fingerprint recognition uses proprietary encryption technology, enabling fingerprint readers to be 100-percent accurate. Upon employee enrollment, the system creates a multi-point schematic of each user’s biometric fingerprint profile, which it stores as a 384-byte fingerprint template. Each time an employee seeks access, the template is matched to the live fingerprint.

When fingerprint data matches perfectly, the reader unit sends an encrypted “open door” command to the control unit. The lock opens and the system logs the date and time of user entry. Artificial fingers, incorrect fingers and fingers of the deceased cannot open doors. In the case of forced entry, an authorized person under duress will firmly press a finger into the reader; the system will sense a problem and send an alert to key personnel.

The access control unit connects directly to a datacenter network controlled by the latest software, allowing user access to be managed from a single desktop. Real-time monitoring provides an indisputable audit trail of all activity. Records can also be viewed remotely via the internet, so monitoring teams need not be onsite.

Because the biometric reader is integrated into the latching handle, the entire system can be quickly and easily retrofitted into existing enclosures. It is, therefore, technologically advanced, yet offers the convenience of drop-in retrofitting.

Biometric latching technology is unique in its ability to serve as a single, networked platform to completely secure every access point throughout a data center, from the front door to the server cabinets.

Author’s Bio:
Steve Spatig is the Business Development Manager for Southco’s EAS division. Southco Inc., is a leading global provider of engineered access solutions, including latches, locks, captive fasteners, hinges, handles. These components enhance other products by providing rugged, attractive and ergonomic “touch points” for users. In addition to a catalog of off-the-shelf components, Southco offers customized engineering solutions for a wide variety of industries including telecommunications, computer, and medical.
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