How can biometrics secure a return on investment?

Introduction

 

Businesses are often looking to replace outdated management or access control systems and biometric systems are evaluated as possible options. Unfortunately the cost of biometrics often used as an excuse to rather avoid them and focus on cheaper solutions. We would like to use this blog to assist in giving an alternative viewpoint and to show that spending the money on proved and reliable solutions can actually lead to major financial savings and an incredible Return on Investment (ROI). These are just a few ways that we believe that biometrics are going to save a business money.

 

1.Eliminating manual systems

 

According to the people who work in the industry, one of the most effective return on investments comes when using biometrics for time management purposes. In many instances recording of time for compliance purposes is a manual system with a punched card or a signature in a book with the time manually recorded. Manual systems are bound to come with faults, human errors or even intentional fraud.

 

These manual clockings then lead to another person capturing the data in another system which can compound the errors which can lead to payroll issues. Issues with payroll can cause all sorts of problems, from simple arguments to productivity decreases to even labour strikes, so should be avoided if at all possible as they can cost a company dearly.

 

2.Ensuring identity

 

When looking at time management even the use of proximity cards or using PIN codes is not much better than the manual systems. So-called ‘Buddy punching’ is a big problem where a person can be recorded as being present by a friend where they are actually not there by simply carrying their card as a favour for them.

 

This can also be a serious problem with safety compliance systems where an untrained person can get access to a site that requires training or induction in order for all people on site to understand safety procedures. Beyond the possible damage of expensive equipment this could also lead to legislative processes or fines from injured employees when operating in unauthorized, dangerous mechanical equipment. A single fine or court case that can be avoided by spending a little extra on biometrics is an immediate cost saving –this is one of those financial gains that can be easily missed.

 

Warehousing and logistics operations require serious security in this day and age as a person who can get access to a high-value storage locker can steal millions in equipment by simply stealing another person’s access card. This is not always a simple greedy person scenario anymore and rather syndicates are popping up to exploit people, processes and companies in this way. The blame then rests on the incorrect person and it can be difficult to even impossible to ever track the culprit.

 

Installation of a biometrics system can cut down on these losses and also might provide discounts on insurance policies that a company must take out against loss.

 

3.Can’t be lost or stolen

 

Keys are still widely used as an access control strategy, however there is no way of tracing a lost key or checking who is using the key. The primary strategy for a lost key is to make a duplicate from a stored master key – however the lost or stolen key cannot be ‘deactivated’! Every time the key is duplicated the security is further decreased. A different strategy would be to replace the lock – this would lead to large costs over the short term and is highly ineffective. With a little training and the correct equipment most locks can be picked or damaged so they no longer work – A person would be able to make a so-called ‘bump’ key like locksmiths have at home using a metal file or even a 3D printer!

 

Access cards or PIN codes are a significant upgrade on keys and are therefore often used on inner security areas or ‘safer’ areas. They are an upgrade however they require active support to maintain the security level – a lost card must be immediately reported and cancelled on the system. A PIN code should be regularly changed in case they are observed by unauthorized people.

 

A simple thing like the time spent looking for or making copies of lost keys, changing PIN codes, enabling, disabling or assigning temporary access cards can be measured in terms of lost productivity and therefore money. There are other loss scenarios that are far more damaging to companies like loss of valuable goods or Intellectual property or sabotage can occur using stolen keys.

 

With biometrics the problem of losing or having keys or cards stolen fall away – a properly chosen biometric is something that a person will always have with them and will positively identify the person each time.

Summary

 

When looking at biometrics as an investment it is very tempting to look purely at the cost of the units and decide that they are too expensive to be used which might cause a decision maker to look into cheaper or less secure options. Hopefully we have provided a few ways that decision makers could evaluate the net Return on Investment rather than the initial cost of biometrics and see different ways that the company can be saving money by putting in biometric devices over other mechanisms regardless of the initial cash outlay!

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