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Biometrics a better way for security systems


Johannesburg, 05 Apr 2005
Read time 2min 50sec

As the requirements for securing business in an electronic world become increasingly stringent, the combination of technology with unique human characteristics has emerged as an ideal mechanism for authentication and access control. Biometric analysis of a person`s physical or behavioural characteristics is almost completely immune to fraud, and also does away with the traditional password or token-based limitations of security systems.

Notes Andre Potgieter, manager, Access Control Biometrics Division at Artec Computer Systems: "Tokens - such as smart cards, magnetic stripe cards and physical keys - can be lost, stolen, or duplicated. Human memory is notoriously unreliable, and remembering the myriad password combinations is a challenge in itself."

Potgeiter observes that losses attributed to fraud, identity theft and cyber vandalism due to password dependence run well into the billions. "And although passwords have traditionally been used for personal authentication, they have nothing to do with a person`s true identity," he adds.

Potgeiter believes that only biometric technology can verify or identify if a person is really who they claim to be. "For instance, I could tell you my banking password or you could find it out through devious means. You could then go and execute transactions and the banking Web site would assume that it was me. With biometric technology, only I would be able to do that - unless of course, you managed to cut off and steal my index finger," he explains.

One of the sectors in which Artec anticipates a growing opportunity for this technology is in time and attendance management. "Time means money in business, so accurate and efficient time and labour management is vital. Most companies do not really appreciate the losses that can occur without proper time and attendance accounting," says Potgeiter.

Artec has devised a biometric solution that can log highly accurate and fraud-resistant time and attendance information. For example, a security guard may have to patrol the perimeter of a building every hour. As he walks past the biometric waypoints he simply scans his fingerprint and walks on, thus keeping an immutable record of his activity. With such biometric solutions, productivity and accountability remain at the highest level - while token-based systems can be easily `fooled`.

Artec Computer Systems is an approved dealer of GWT`s IDU-4 biometric technology in SA. Potgieter states that the GWT solution is the most effective and cost-efficient biometric product available in SA. "Artec is well-positioned to deliver this solution along with pre- and post-sales service and support, all governed by a service level agreement and linked to its 24/7 contact centre," he adds.

Furthermore, the company is partnering with a black economic empowered company for a portion of its delivery and installation.

"As GWT doesn`t sell to the end-user, they need dealers who offer superlative customer satisfaction in terms of implementation, skills and support - in which Artec Computer Systems excels," Potgeiter concludes.

Editorial contacts
Copygen Kimberly Guest (011) 675 3460 kimg@copygen.co.za
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