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Biometrics time and attendance: is my data safe?


With GDPR rapidly approaching and the Cambridge Analytica scandal making headlines, we’re more aware than ever of how our personal data is being stored and handled – and a lot more suspicious. To that end, it’s understandable that some employees may have qualms over the use of biometric time and attendance systems in the workplace.   Biometric clocking terminals verify the user by scanning their fingerprints, handprints or even retinas using multispectral sensors, allowing employees to clock in and out quickly and efficiently. Biometric security may sound like a sci-fi fantasy, but fingerprint scanning is becoming an increasingly popular choice for employers who are looking to simplify their clocking systems and find a more streamlined way to log employee attendance.   When a workforce has been used to accessing sites using PIN numbers or swipe cards, it’s normal for them – and you – to have a few questions about the privacy of biometric data, so let us put your mind at rest…

Will my fingerprints be stored? By far the most common concern is that biometric terminals store fingerprints, which could then potentially be used for fraud. However, this isn’t the case at all. Rather than storing images of an employee’s fingerprint, it’s recorded as a mathematical algorithm, so every time they subsequently scan in their fingerprint it’s compared to the file stored. The file can’t be used to rebuild a representation of the print either as it is stored as an abstract mathematical code, so the you can rest assured that enrolment data will not put your unique details at risk of being breached.

Could someone create a fake fingerprint to circumvent the system? In a word – no. Whereas traditional systems could be tricked using everyday household objects that mimicked fingerprints, modern multispectral imaging systems can tell the difference between human flesh and other organic or synthetic materials. The technology can also record the internal structures of the finger that dictate the external fingerprint ridges, meaning that the internal details are compared to the print itself to ensure that it’s a match. All of our biometric systems protect against the films and prostheses that are typically used by fraudsters, rendering them totally ineffective.

How can I get my employees to trust biometric technology? You may be fully on board with the idea, but your employees still might not be sold on it. Perhaps they are worried that their personal information is a risk, or are concerned about their privacy, but the key here is simply to keep them informed to alleviate any concerns they may have. Explain to them why you’re intending on implementing a biometric clocking terminal – for example, if you’re trying to cut down on ‘buddy punching’, let them know. You should reassure them as to how their data is being used and stored, and emphasise the benefits of using the system.   Once you have banished any doubts about biometrics, you’ll find that it’s a secure, efficient and easy-to-use system that will save your business time on manual admin and also improve employee time management. If you want to find out more about how we can help your business, get in touch!

Is your current time and attendance solution doing everything you need it to? If not, contact Mitrefinch UK today and see what you’ve been missing!

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