Access control is a security technique that regulates who or what can view or use resources in a computing environment. It is a fundamental concept in security that minimizes risk to the business or organization. Systems could be physical or logical. Physical systems are used to maintain the physical security of an area, property, building, or a room. These systems are enforced by a personnel or electronic access control system, which use computers or credentials to provide access such as PINs or biometrics. Logical systems are used to manage the connections to computer files, data, or networks controlled by passwords, PINs, or biometrics.
The most typical use case of this system in organizations is utilizing it as a key. However, this is the simplest form and one of the more problematic ones since keys can be lost, are difficult to manage and duplicate, and don’t keep any records.
Another common application is a card system, which unfortunately can be lost too. However, access control systems based on cards can keep records, which makes it easy to track them.
The safest system is biometrics – facial and fingerprint recognition-based, which are hard to fool given the advanced security checks by the algorithms nowadays such as liveness detection.
Biometrics is one of the most popular types of access control systems, since biometrics combines convenience and security. It uses sophisticated biometric identification scanners and door locks to recognize unique characteristics of body parts. Common modalities include:
Biometric systems use scanned templates of biometric modalities against the biometric template stored in the biometric database. If those two templates match, a person is given access. If there is no match, a person is denied access.
The main benefit of biometric systems is security. You simply can’t mimic the biological data of another person as you need somebody enrolled to get through the access control system. Another benefit is convenience. Your body parts are always with you and cannot be easily lost, forgotten, or revealed.
Fingerprint systems have grown rapidly over time and are now one of the most reliable systems in the world.
Fingerprint systems need a fingerprint scanner to create a fingerprint template of the scanned person and compare it with templates stored in the database. If these templates match, people are given access.
We can summarize the benefits of Fingerprint Access Control Systems below.
Inherent Identification – a fingerprint is a stable part of the body
Unique Patterns – no two fingerprints are the same
Increased Security – fingerprint-based access control systems are hard to fool
Great Scalability – enrolling a new user is quick and easy
User Convenience – all you need is your finger; no need for cards, keys, or remember passwords or PINs
Low Price – it is one of the most affordable ways to authenticate a user
The applications of face recognition access control systems are rapidly increasing, from simply unlocking smartphones to opening new bank accounts. Facial recognition is now the fastest-growing biometric modality.
A Facial Recognition Access Control System is usually a door lock or turnstile system that allows entrance to an authorized person based on facial recognition algorithms. It is used for keyless and seamless access control and door entry.
Facial Recognition Systems are more secure than traditional systems like PINs, cards, or passwords since they can not be easily revealed or lost. Recently, the popularity of face recognition systems has increased for building access control use cases.
Any automated facial recognition system uses a biometric sample (photo, image, or video) against a biometric database. In general, the facial recognition process consists of four basic steps:
Face detection – camera recognizes the face of a user
Face alignment – cuts the face from an image
Template extraction – converts the image into a numerical code
Template matching – face template is compared to a database of other faces
Convolutional neural networks convert each face pattern into a numerical code, which is expressed as a vector. The closer two vectors are to each other, the more likely there is a match between two faces.
Besides facial recognition software, facial recognition systems also use specific hardware such as door locks and cameras.
Compared to more traditional systems, facial recognition-based systems offer several advantages such as:
Improved security compared to traditional methods like PINs, passwords, cards and keys, which can be lost or betrayed
Facial recognition is the latest technology adopted for door access security. It provides contactless and touchless door entry to speed up the door authentication process.
Each individual needs a photo of their face to be enrolled into the facial recognition system. The system needs a camera to capture the face of a person. Artificial intelligence (AI) is used to convert face points into strings and vectors and compare the enrolled person with the captured one. If those vectors are close to each other, there is a fit. The access control system then opens the door.
Advanced techniques are used to prevent spoofs such as liveness detection to ensure the door opens only to the person actually present and not a photograph, 3D mask, or video.
Facial recognition works almost instantly, taking less than one second to identify a person. Therefore, it is suitable for broad use cases such as building entry, stadium entry, or airport security. Compared to traditional authorization methods, facial recognition access control is the fastest and most convenient method for users.