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How to shop for a Biometric Access Control system

What is biometric access control?

Biometric access control is a security system which records a unique physical feature of the persons who are authorised to gain access, such as a fingerprint, a handprint or the retina of an eye. This stored image is then matched against that of an individual wanting to gain access, in order to verify his or her identity. So literally, the swipe of a finger can replace the swipe of an access card. No more security cards or keypad codes to gain access.

2 advantages of biometric access control

  1. Through loss or theft, access cards can easily end up in the wrong hands and be forged, which compromises the company’s security. And most of us have experienced the headache of forgetting or losing an access code. However, a biometric system offers a fool proof – and tamper proof – solution.  It’s impossible to forge unique physical features such as eye retinas or fingerprints. Which means that a biometric system offers virtually the most secure access system available. Probably the only way for a criminal to break the system is to go undercover as a trusted member of staff, or bump off an unfortunate employee and chop off his fingertip to use for access, or carry the victim’s eye in his pocket … ok, this is very far-fetched, but it has been known to happen in movies.
  2. But seriously, biometric systems are reliable, efficient and often more affordable as they rely on computer technology, and don’t need people to man the system.

5 tips for choosing the right biometric access system

Before rushing off to purchase the latest state-of-the-art biometric access control system just because it sounds like something you need, read these 5 tips first:

1.  What are you securing?

Biometric systems are designed to offer high security. But the system can be expensive if the risk of a security breach is lower. Confidential areas within your organisation such as server rooms can be considered high security.

2.  What method of identification will you use?

As biometric systems rely on specific physical features such as fingerprints, handprints or eye retinas, it would be a good idea for you to decide which one makes you and your employees feel most comfortable using. For example, some people find retina scans invasive.

3.  How do you want to exit the area?

There are a few options such as push-to-exit buttons, request-to-exit bars and motion detectors to name some. Look at who will be entering and exiting the area and what will make it most convenient for them. For example, if the people exiting don’t have a free hand to press a button or push a handle then a motion sensor would be best. Also, keep in mind the extent of power outages in your area, as this will also influence your choice of exit.

4.  Ask about the software!

Make sure you choose software that is easy to understand and compatible with your existing computer’s operating systems. Ask your security consultant for a demonstration of the software to make sure it’s easy to add new employees, change access levels, create groups and find detailed reports.

5.  Whom do you buy from?

Reputable security companies supply and install biometric access control systems. Do ensure that the company you choose can offer:

  • stable and respected systems
  • timely support  
  • flexibility in order to fulfil your requirements
  • expert advice – able to answer all your questions
  • skilled technicians
  • knowledge in the area of access control systems
  • one-on-one contact and a visit to your premises      

At 6th Sense we will put your mind at rest as we offer all the above and more. For a consultation with one of our reputable consultants call 082 501 5488 or visit us at We’ll provide you with all the credentials.