We kicked off this series with an overview of two methods used to verify an individual’s identity: physical biometrics and behavioral biometrics. Armed with this understanding, many people then ask, “Which type of biometric system should be used in certain situations?”
This article will help you choose an appropriate biometric technology based on the purpose of your security application, your setting/environment, and other factors.
Verification vs. identification scenarios
Another big factor is the type of security application for which you plan to use biometric technology. For instance, as a C-Level Executive, are you looking at a verification or identification scenario? In other words, are you going to confirm the identity of an individual on a one-to-one level, or on a one-to-many basis?
When it comes to verification scenarios, just about any biometric technology will work, whether it is physical or behavioral. The more robust biometric technologies to be used in this fashion are fingerprint recognition, iris recognition, hand geometry recognition, and vein pattern recognition.
But, when it comes to identification scenarios, the only choice is a physical biometric technology. Behavioral biometrics are simply not robust enough to capture the identity of an individual in a large database. Furthermore, behavioral technologies simply do not possess the capability to capture the dynamic changes in the behaviors or mannerisms of an individual which occur over the course of time. In this regard, physical biometrics are the prime method for identification purposes. Fingerprint recognition is the best choice here, as it has been used the most, and has been tested across very large databases.
The setting where the technology will be used
Another critical factor in choosing between a physical or behavioral technology is the ease of acquisition of the respective biometric templates on the specific environment in which it will be used. For example:
- Behavioral biometrics work well in small office-based environments.
- Physical biometrics such as hand geometry recognition are better suited for use in extremely harsh environments such as factories and warehouses.
- Facial recognition is well suited for covert applications, such as tracking individuals in airport settings or large sporting venues.
It should be noted that none of the behavioral biometric technologies are suited for large scale environments.
Other factors to consider
In addition to the factors just described, there are other hurdles to choosing between a behavioral or physical biometric system. These factors include:
- The network bandwidth and data transmission requirements in the transfer of the biometric templates as they traverse across the network medium
- The size of the population and demographic specifics upon which the biometric system will be used
- The environmental comfort (or ergonomics) of the biometric system for the end user
- The ability of the biometric system to operate in conjunction with legacy security systems
- The end users’ acceptance level of the biometric system which will be deployed.
Ultimately, there is no such thing as the perfect biometric system. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their technological flaws. Therefore, great thought must be devoted to selecting a biometric system which will best suit your needs.
Up Next: Our next article will delve into the details of fingerprint recognition
Ravi Das is a Cybersecurity Consultant and Business Development Specialist. He also does Cybersecurity Consulting through his private practice, RaviDas Tech, Inc. He also possesses the Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) cert from the ISC2.