Q&A | June 3, 2014

What VARs Need To Know About Providing Biometrics ID Solutions

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

Biometrics ID Solution Providers

If you provide access control solutions, you are certainly familiar with biometrics identification, but is providing this technology within your company’s capabilities, expandable to other areas of clients’ organizations?

Brian Dubin, VP at Certify, says it is.

Biometrics identification solutions — whether finger, palm, iris, face, retina, etc. — are based on the same type of matching process. “Of course, each modality and/or hardware manufacturer may have its own specifics, but in general it all comes down to algorithms and/or image matching,” Dubin explains. Templates, through a scan or “picture,” are recorded, and the template is turned into a data stream, which is then used for matching upon subsequent validations..

Reseller partners rely on Certify’s representatives, knowledgeable in all aspects of the technology, as a resource for information for prospects and clients. The company’s reseller program gives partners the option to make introductions and have a Certify representative handle the sales cycle or to work jointly with the rep.

Dubin points out VARs should have some general knowledge about biometrics related to the multitude of use cases and how biometrics can be applied. “Whether the client’s need is for physical or logical access, biometrics can be used to meet each client’s unique needs. Biometric certification is not necessary to be a VAR , but certification knowledge and a general understanding of biometrics is a must,” he says. He goes on to say “Our VAR program has been established to educate our partners about biometrics and use cases, and in turn allows our partners the opportunity to close more deals” For example, a VAR must be aware that an integrated biometrics resource platform may need to meet certain certifications or standards within a specific sector. For instance, in healthcare, two-factor authentication for electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) requires specific devices and credentialing in order to meet DEA compliance. Dubin, who is a part of multiple sectors educational and credentialing groups, including NAHAM (National Association of Healthcare Access Management) and HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society), says, “Within each sector a biometrics expert must be aware of the ever-changing standards, options, and certification boards.”

According to Dubin, healthcare is one market with immediate benefits for users. Healthcare providers are deploying biometric platforms to improve patient experience and to meet specific use cases like EPCS and positive patient identification. He says, for example, if a person arrives at a hospital and is unconscious, that person can be biometrically scanned to be identified. Once identified, their medical record can be accessed, and the correct course of treatment can be administered.

He says other growing sectors for biometrics solutions are banking/finance, commercial, and education, with requirements such as know-your-customer compliance and simplification and security aspects of each sector driving demand.

VARs need to be aware that different vertical markets will have specific use cases to review. “Each use case should be reviewed by an industry expert to make sure the biometric solution is meeting current and potential future client needs,” Dubin says. He adds there isn’t currently one biometric solution that meets all use cases. For example, a user may be able to interact with a biometric scanner at a brick and mortar location, but would not be able to access the scanner hardware from a remote location (i.e., finger scanner onsite and voice and/or face through a phone off site).

In addition, each modality has specific thresholds related to FAR and FRR (false acceptance rate and false rejection rate) and “spoofability,” along with specific criteria for the reads themselves. For instance a multi-spectral finger scanner can read through a latex glove, or wet or dirty fingers, while an optic scanner may not have the same capability.

He says it’s necessary to take into account age, temperature, interior or exterior use, lighting and angle when deciding which modality and hardware manufacture to use, as each one can be specific to the location and population using the devices.

The level of buy-in among end users at your client’s business is also a factor when you are ready to deploy the solution. “Education is the key,” says Dubin, “You may come across potential skeptics, but with the right education they will understand the benefits — not to mention their ability to truly control their own identity. Imagine being able to transact your daily business without worrying about your wallet, keys, credit card, insurance card and office badges all through the use of biometrics.”

CERTIFY is the largest multi-model cloud-based biometric solutions provider in the world. The company’s innovative partner program enables VARs to rely on Certify’s expertise, while maintaining their relationships with their clients and close more deals.  Certify’s platform enables VARs to offer their clients the ability to identify employees, customers, and users through cloud-based biometrics.

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