There are numerous advantages — and several notable disadvantages — to using biometric security measures for physical facilities and electronic devices. Biometric security uses a person's own physical markers as the sole means of gaining access through that security. Typical biometric identification markers include fingerprints, voice verification, retina scans and facial recognition software.
Though these security measures are quite expensive, the primary benefit is that they are generally impregnable to hackers, criminals or any others the security measures are aimed at keeping at bay. Biometric technologies do come with several drawbacks, though, including the fact that the human body changes over time. Changes that alter the biometric identification markers of those who are allowed access can complicate both long-term security logistics and work flow.
The primary advantage to using biometric security systems is the ability of the property owner or security chief to tailor the security system directly to those personnel who most require access. The idea is that by utilizing natural markers that are unique to each individual person, the security system will be able to easily identify those who are allowed access while easily identifying those who are not. Biometric security is best suited to physical spaces that require continuous or long-term protection. There are some methods for using biometric technologies for the protection of hardware, software and data as well, but these methods can be overcome by persistent and dedicated hackers.
Biometric security systems have a distinct advantage over traditional passwords, key codes and access cards because they cannot be hacked, stolen or transferred from an a person who is allowed access to one. Yet beyond this one feature, biometric security systems do have problems and drawbacks. For example, the development of cataracts could severely inhibit the ability of a person to gain access through retinal scan confirmation, causing problems for an entire facility that has dedicated its resources to this form of biometric security.
If one member of the staff with security access develops a medical condition that alters his or her biometric markers, the facility in question will have one of two choices. They will either have to invest heavily in supplemental forms of security solely for that one person, or change the entire system to another biometric format or away from biometrics altogether. Biometric security measures offer the capacity to secure a facility or device in a unique and personal way, but caution and forethought must be used when attempting to configure the system.