Biometric technology is becoming an increasingly popular choice for security and identification in a variety of organisations – from fingerprint access and facial recognition functionality on our phones to the facial recognition being trialled by the police (with admittedly limited success).
So why all the fuss? When it comes to clocking in and out, why are biometrics better than old fashioned entry systems?
Recently, biometric technology has raised questions over privacy and rights – facial recognition technology in particular is still undergoing issues with accuracy and hasn’t yet reached its full potential. But biometric technology that works using fingerprints is proven and can change the way your organisation approaches time and attendance (T&A) monitoring.
Why use biometric time and attendance with fingerprint technology?
1. It doesn’t compromise the privacy of your employees
Getting your employees to give you their fingerprints may raise privacy concerns but, depending on the system you choose, these concerns should not be off-putting. For example, Mitrefinch’s biometric T&A doesn’t actually store the fingerprints themselves.
For one, storing actual fingerprints would take up an incredible amount of storage space and two, it would cause a potential security and privacy risk if that data was stolen.
Our technology uses an algorithm to find key data points within a fingerprint (such as where ridges meet) and creates a map of these data points – a fingerprint template. It’s this template which is stored and used to match against a person’s fingerprint when they use the sensor. It’s not the same as the fingerprint technology that’s used by the police or the correctional services. As only the key data points are stored, the fingerprint templates can’t be reconstructed back to the original fingerprint, and so the privacy and security of your employees is preserved in the highly-unlikely event the data is stolen.
2. You can’t lose your fingerprint
There is nothing worse than getting to the head of the queue only to realise that you don’t have your ID card/fob on you. At best, it’s just at home somewhere, at worst, it was lost during the commute in! Not only does this cause delays clocking in but could also cause a security breech if the lost ID card or fob is used to gain entry.
Biometric technology does away with those issues as it’s extremely difficult to lose your fingerprints or leave them at home. This speeds up clocking in and out for everyone involved, as well as safeguarding against unlawful entry.
3. It improves security
ID cards, passwords, pins, they all have the potential to be a security risk in a business. It’s all too easy for them to be lost or forgotten, weakening security and reducing the accuracy of your time and attendance data. Not to mention that it becomes easier for employees to commit time theft if all they need to do is hand over their ID card or password to let their buddy clock in (or out) for them.
Newer fingerprint sensors can’t be fooled by faked fingerprints either. Whereas older models could occasionally be tricked, the newer models don’t just rely on the surface image. The Lumidigm sensor used in our software makes use of multispectral imaging, so it’s not only looking at the surface imprint, but the subsurface as well. This means that easily available methods of spoofing fingerprints, such as readily available films and prostheses, are ineffective here.
4. It doesn’t need sterile lab conditions in order to work
Fingerprint scanners will still be able to work in the dirtiest of conditions – even if your employees have oil and grease on their hands. This is the case even if it’s a hot or cold day, as long as your fingerprint sensor is using multispectral imaging because this is able to use the unique characteristics of every fingerprint’s surface and subsurface for identification.
What this means is that you don’t need to worry about being excessively gentle with it or keeping it in pristine surroundings. The system is robust enough to keep up with the needs of you and your workforce.
5. It can help protect against time theft and reduce payroll costs
Time theft is simply where employees claim they’ve worked more time than they have. An example of this could be an employee getting a buddy to clock them out if they want to leave early. Time theft is far easier to commit when using paper timesheets or simple clocking systems that use punch cards, for example, as it doesn’t require the employee to be physically present themselves in order to clock in and out. But each of those extra minutes taken can add up to a huge payroll bill for you in the long run. Biometric technology can put a stop to these kind of instances as everything is recorded in the system and the employee has to be physically present to clock in and out, no one else can do it for them.
The reporting function will then allow you to see any instances of anomalous behaviour where people are arriving/working late or leaving early. You’re then able to take positive steps to help work out why this behaviour is happening and if there are reasons for it that can be easily solved.
Improving the accuracy of your time and attendance data through biometrics will have a knock-on effect throughout your organisation. It’ll help keep payroll costs under control as you’ll accurately be able to pay your employees for the hours they’ve worked. It’ll also help you spot trends in absenteeism so you can take action to help reduce levels of absence across your workforce.
If you’d like to know more about biometric technology and how it can benefit your business, please get in touch.