Setting the Standard on Biometric Templates: How to Plan for the Future

At the beginning of the 2000’s biometric security companies were in the height of innovation as newcomers flooded the market with proprietary technologies at the heart of their growth. Over time, the biometric vendors consolidated and left very few vendors with significant market share. This created a problem; The proprietary technologies of these major market leaders remained distinct and incompatible. The essence of the incompatibility lay in each firm's reliance on their proprietary fingerprint templates and algorithms. As well, enterprise solutions that joined the technologies of the biometric market leaders were not scaleable or sustainable.  


So, in 2005 the International Organization for Standardization created a standard for biometric templates known as ISO 19794-2. This new industry standard set the stage for the future interoperability of previously incompatible systems. ISO 19794-2 became a device-agnostic template type that provided the security, reliability and flexibility for widespread use and support of biometrics. Market leaders quickly developed hardware and software solutions that would support the new template standard meaning that Security Systems Engineers and Consultants could now design systems that take advantage of the best technology available in the market, regardless of the manufacturer. Now, just a single fingerprint enrollment would be required to access any biometric device.    


A Single Template for Multiple Hardware Devices?
The idea that a single template type could be utilized across the entire hardware offering from the biometric market was exciting. In addition to providing flexibility on the hardware side, these new ISO 19794-2 templates allowed System Administrators and Security Teams to increase the versatility and value of their existing population's enrollments. 

But, with the increased versatility came a significant hurdle to overcome; The process of enrolling user templates during the implementation of a biometric system. For organizations with hundreds of thousands of users, the enrollment process alone can take weeks, if not months to complete. Time consuming re-enrollments have therefore caused a large number of consumers to remain on legacy technology in order to avoid the burden of a re-enrollment process.  


Planning for Growth: How can organizations cope? 

High quality fingerprints become extremely valuable to the reliability and sustainability of a biometric security system. The standardization on ISO 19794-2 templates allows organizations to future-proof their databases of templates. This new template format is versatile enough to allow institutions with large user-bases to implement the newest and most advanced technology. The multitude of devices and platforms now available for deployment multiplied greatly and as businesses grew, so did their need for consolidated systems and security. 

Organizations standardizing on ISO 19794-2 fingerprint biometric templates are well-prepared to handle two very common situations that are impacting today's largest and most secure market sector: Data centers. 

1. Consolidation 

In the past decade, economic climates have made market consolidation one of the primary drivers of organizational growth and increasing market share. This has recently been prevalent in the data center colocation/cloud market. Issues arise when systems and solutions used by one organization are often incompatible with the systems of their new partner. This friction occurs as well with the biometric security systems being used to protect the most valuable assets of these institutions.  

Standardizing on a single biometric template type allows the biometric systems and enrollments of both parties to merge more easily than most other institutional systems. The interoperability and versatility of the ISO 19794-2 templates allows companies to decrease costs and risks associated with biometric security systems re-architecting and re-implementation during market consolidation. 

2. Exponential growth 

The record growth seen in the data center industries over the past few years have been prime examples of the high-level growth in physical capital that brings with it, a need for scaleable high-security solutions. As these large organizations continue to expand, rip-and-replace is not an option for their previously implemented hardware solutions. Instead, if they standardize on the ISO 19794-2 templates then they can continuously integrate the newest technological solutions and scale these solutions with an environment of mixed-manufacturers.  


Biometric security systems are being deployed by the largest and most technologically advanced institutions in the world. They need to continuously implement the best hardware solutions available without having to re-organize neither hardware nor software solutions. Standardizing on ISO 19794-2 templates allows them the flexibility for them to do so while planning for future growth. 


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