Definition: Biometrics refers to a group of authentication methods that are based upon a user's physical characteristics. There are several commonly used techniques. One of them is fingerprint or palm print used for identification and to control access. Another device actually scans the user's retina and compares the information with that which is on file for a legitimate user. Also, a voice print or facial recognition software can be used to grant access. There are advantages and disadvantages to using biometrics, however, advances in the technology are continuing.

Its Relevance: Access controls based upon a user's physical characteristics can be highly effective and successful component of a multi-layered access control program. Individuals who wish to gain unauthorized access would find it very difficult to defeat such systems. The systems that are described above in the definition are, however, more expensive to implement. Extra storage space and specialized hardware and software would be required at each access point.

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