Facial Authentication: Better Security with More Convenience

The return to the workplace is looming. While some studies suggest that the big return will start in December, many organizations are pushing that date out to 2022. While IST isn’t making predictions on when the return to work will actually happen, many organizations are making plans for the return, and moving forward, the flow of people in and out of buildings and spaces will likely increase as time marches on.

As employees, contractors and visitors return, security professionals will be tasked with not only securing buildings and spaces, but ensuring a healthy workplace. One sticking point is the proliferation of access control technologies that require a human touch—common surfaces that can be focal points for collecting pathogens.

So it’s no wonder that there’s been a sharp increase in demand for touchless access control, which minimizes the number of touch surfaces required to navigate building security. Solutions like automatic, revolving or sliding doors can help to reduce contact at high-volume entry and exit points. By coupling these solutions with contactless credentials, security professionals can better ensure security while minimizing surface contamination.

Access control is critical for a safe back-to-work strategy

The pandemic has increased hygiene awareness among employees, but due to the contagious nature of COVID-19, legacy access control technologies are becoming increasingly ineffective at meeting their concerns, resulting in a lack of confidence that legacy systems can contribute to a healthy environment. In addition, according to a recent study by ASIS International and HID Global, the access control infrastructure is deteriorating, further eroding confidence in legacy systems.

There are a number of other issues with legacy systems. For example, tailgating is a constant concern, and access cards are subject to theft and loss, and are costly to manage. In addition, traditional biometric readers can be hacked. For example, fingerprint readers were considered to offer airtight security. But according to Forbes, hackers say they can hack a fingerprint scanner in 20 minutes.

Better Security with More Convenience

Thankfully, many of the solutions required to ensure a safe working environment already exist, and technology providers have been working quickly to add features to help security professionals cover more ground with less work.

Touchless access control is an unobtrusive, stress-free way to enable people to move freely around buildings and spaces while providing security professionals with an effective solution for controlling and visually verifying who has access to restricted areas. Essentially, a modern solution can add convenience for users and better security for organizations.

The challenge for security professionals is to find a touchless access control solution that is easy to install, can authenticate everyone entering buildings and spaces, and has enough safety features to protect against common security breaches—all at a reasonable cost.

Facial Authentication vs. Facial Recognition

Facial authentication is a touchless access control technology organizations can use to quickly and accurately authorize people for entry into buildings and spaces. While facial recognition is currently a hot and controversial topic, using facial recognition to authorize access can comply with current legislation regarding the use of facial recognition technology.

That’s because the issue with facial recognition in public spaces is that people don’t consent to being identified by a camera. The fact that some companies have used facial recognition data improperly by collecting and selling data without consent has led to the current controversy. It has also led to legislation such as the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), the GDPR in the EU, CCPA in California and others, to limit the use of non-consensual face recognition to protect the privacy of citizens.

Like any other access control method, employees and others can opt-in to a facial authentication program, making it completely transparent, ethical and legal, as long as the collected data is kept private.

Your Face is Your Badge

The primary benefit of facial authentication is its high level of security. That’s because your face is likely the most secure biometric for access control. Tina D’Agostin, CEO of Alcatraz AI, a leading provider of access control technology, says, “Facial authentication is a much-needed element in access control because it’s more secure than many other authentication options, more convenient for end users, and more efficient for businesses.”

Facial authentication is also familiar to iPhone users, as it uses facial recognition to provide access to the smartphone.

Facial authentication systems combine the functionality of access control management software and a facial recognition camera to recognize multiple people as they approach an entrance. Lights or an audible welcome/deny message let people know if they’ve been authenticated. Since your face is your badge, there’s no need for cards or other credentials.

Tailgating is eliminated because each face is scanned before entry. Nobody can squeeze in behind another without being recognized. If an unauthorized person does gain entry, the system can send an alert in real time and provide a photo. Compare this with legacy systems, where a physical breach can take days or weeks to discover.

Preparing the workplace for the return of employees can be stressful. But you can alleviate some of that stress by considering an upgrade to your current access control system. By upgrading from legacy systems to a more modernized solution, organizations can significantly reduce human contact around access control while also addressing employee concerns.

By working with an experienced integrator that leverages proven solutions from top security technology providers, organizations can get ahead of the demands for better security and help ensure a healthy work environment without burdening employees with friction in the form of cumbersome, outdated access control.