8 Reasons Biometric Time Clocks are More Secure Than Mobile Devices

  • “I can’t find my phone!” 
  • “I have no wireless signal” 
  • “Darn, my battery died.” 
  • “Why won’t this app work?” 

We’ve all said these at least a few dozen times when using mobile phones for personal reasons. But what happens when an employee who uses a mobile phone to clock in and out from work says them?  

What happens is that the employer has just lost the value of automated time and attendance data collection, and needs to keep using manual work-arounds and reconciliations to run an accurate payroll. 

For employees who work in the field, a mobile app for time collection is a step up from manual reporting. For all other employees though, the negatives of time tracking via mobile app outweigh its convenience factor. 

Instead of offering only the mobile application – consider offering a hardware device that will always be powered on and always ready to take the next employee punch. 

Upgrading your time clock offerings to include biometric time clocks brings your company many advantages. A major advantage that can make you more competitive among certain industries is that biometric time clocks can eliminate the need for employees  to rely on mobile devices to clock in and out. 

The convenience of mobile phones in our personal lives initially led to an assumption that they’d be efficient tools to track attendance of employees who work in industries where they don’t have individual workspaces and computers like people working in manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare. All of these workplaces are crowded and busy. However, companies with these types of workforces have quickly realized that depending on employee mobile devices to track hours raises a variety of challenges. Challenges like increased security risk and unreliable attendance data collection, among others. 

You can help your customers avoid the ongoing headaches of managing an employee BYOD program and the headaches brought on by other hassles associated with using mobile devices for time tracking. Include biometric time clocks in your time clock portfolio and help new customers transition their onsite employees off their mobile devices. 

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What is an Employee Biometric Time Clock/Biometric/Biometric Clock/Biometric fingerprint clocks/biometric time/ biometric time and attendance? 

A biometric time clock uses a specific biometric marker from each employee to authenticate that employee’s identity at the time clock. Fingerprint and facial recognition are two common types of biometric time clock readers. 

The first step in the biometric time tracking system is to enroll the employee at the biometric time clock. Enrollment is when the time clock captures the biometric data that the system will use to authenticate the employee when they clock in and out. The system converts the biometric data into a secure algorithm, so there’s no risk of employees losing control over their biometric information. 

Once enrolled, the biometric time clock compares each employee’s punch against the biometric template stored in the attendance system. If the data of the employee punch matches the biometric template stored for that employee, then the time clock will accept the punch. If it doesn’t match, then the time clock rejects it. Using a biometric ID  to verify the identity of the person standing at the time clock is a powerful source with plenty of perks. 

Biometric Time Clocks vs. Mobile Devices  

Many customers will appreciate the heightened data security biometric time clocks provide over mobile devices. The superior data security of biometric time clocks shows up from more reliable and accurate payroll to safe workplaces

visual facial scan

#1 Payroll Gets More Accurate Data through Biometric Time Clocks/Biometric Time Clock?

Improving payroll accuracy is a prime motivator for automating attendance data collection. The unreliability of mobile devices undermines this goal. Every time an employee can’t clock in or out on their mobile phone, that’s work time that has to be tracked and managed manually, with all the costs and risks associated with manual attendance data entry and reconciliation. Your customers don’t want that. The reliability of biometric time clocks ensures your customers have maximum uptime to collect accurate work hours from their employees. 

When you integrate your software with biometric time clocks, you’re helping customers improve payroll accuracy by removing the opportunity for their employees to engage in buddy punching and other ways to game their payroll hours. In contrast, mobile time tracking makes it easy for employees to engage time theft since the data collection is done quietly and privately on a phone. It’s harder for an employee to buddy punch at a time clock with other people around. If employees share their logins with each other, nobody would ever see them using a mobile device to clock in and out for each other.   In this way, mobile time tracking encourages bloated payroll and labor costs. 

#2 Biometric Time Clocks are Durable 

Every type of employee time clock is more physically durable than mobile devices. The lifespan of ATS time clocks is well over ten years. How long does a person keep the same phone?  

It’s already a logistical headache to manage a time clock badge replacement program. Imagine instead that your customers have to buy employees new mobile devices every time one breaks, gets lost, or becomes obsolete. Even companies that run BYOD programs need to invest time and resources ensuring that employees  install the necessary apps and security protocols  to their new device. It will be a relief to your customers not to have to devote the limited time of HR and IT support helping employees get new devices set up and secure to track work hours.`` 

Besides increased physical durability, the software on the biometric time clock is also more “durable.” The time clock is a device over which your customers have complete control over the  software installed and when it’s upgraded. In contrast, the time keeping application on a mobile device has a higher risk of getting corrupted. As the employee’s personal device, the company may not have control over what else gets downloaded. That presents a significant challenge to provide employees with IT support if the time keeping app stops working properly. This is another ongoing transactional cost your customers pay for when relying on employee mobile devices to track time.  

The durability of biometric time clocks and their software make them a low-friction timekeeping option for your customers.   

#3 Employees Won’t Always Need to Have a Phone with Them   

We’ve already talked a bit about the costs to your customers when employees have to replace a lost mobile phone used to track their hours. That’s only one disadvantage of mobile phones as time clocks. Because mobile phones are mobile, here are a few other challenges that employees face with phones, leaving them with no way to track their hours until the device is recovered or replaced: 

  • Lost temporarily: their kids took it, they left it on the kitchen table. The ways we forget our mobile phones are infinite. If employees can lose their swipe card; it’s not much different with their mobile phones. 
  • Battery dies: Another situation that happens to everyone at some point. 
  • Easy to steal: Small devices that have high dollar value? Mobile phones are targets of theft. 

#4 Avoid Easy Distraction  

Another reason employees may not have access to their mobile phones at work is because their employers won’t let them. Increasingly, companies recognize that mobile phones at the workplace are too distracting for employees. Having access to their mobile phones negatively affects productivity and workplace safety. Scheduling and workforce management solutions must be able to cater to companies that don’t allow employees to have mobile devices onsite if they want that business.

#5 Biometric Time Clocks Securely and Immediately Sync with Your Workforce Management System 

Biometric time clocks will have fewer connectivity issues in your system than hundreds (or more) of individual mobile devices. Work hour data needs to flow back into your software and other systems it feeds on a regular and reliable basis. The software on the biometric time clock is built to integrate easily and securely with external solutions.  

The time tracking data stored on the time clock has greater protection than work hour data stored on a mobile device. If you sign up with AccuCloud, our cloud-based time collection solution, then your customers will have their data encrypted at rest and during transit. The AccuCloud monitoring portal will also let you have direct oversight on the data integration between each ATS time clock in your customer’s clock network. But if you choose not to go  with a cloud-based solution, you can integrate ATS biometric time clock data via flat file or web services, as suits your environment. 

Eliminating employee mobile phones as time trackers connected to your network improves your customers’ cyber security. Each mobile device that can connect to your network is a new end point your customers’ IT teams need to secure against bad actors. 

touching phone

#6  Improves Compliance with Strict Data Privacy Laws 

Organizations that collect data subject to specific data privacy laws, such as healthcare or student information, create a lot of risk if they let employees use mobile devices to access data. The risk of sharing confidential information is even greater if they have a BYOD program, where they have less control over how an employee uses their personal device outside of work.  

These organizations can avoid the risk by not allowing employees to use mobile devices while at work. 

#7 Easy for Employees to enroll 

Biometrics are sophisticated technology. Part of that sophistication is that its complexity is completely invisible to the user. Biometric time clocks are easier and faster for employees to use than a traditional swipe card or badge. The biometric enrollment process is simple. Employees can guide themselves through it with simple instructions provided by ATS, or HR managers can walk them through it. 

Your customers should also know that biometric time clocks are easy to implement without disrupting business operations. A customer that already has ATS time clocks can likely have the biometric reader installed as an add-on. If the customer is adding  new time clocks, there’s no added logistics required to install a biometric time clock than exists for implementing time clocks that don’t have biometric readers. In fact, since the company doesn’t need to distribute new ID cards to employees, the rollout for new biometric time clocks is  faster than for traditional time clocks. 

Employees already know how to clock their hours with a card, so there’s no real learning curve to show employees where to stand or place their finger on the biometric time clock. Since there’s no need to invest time or resources into an employee training program, your customers can realize the full value of their biometric time clocks quickly after they’re installed. 

#8 No Need to Change Business Policy for Employee BYOD  

Companies willing to run a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program need to draft complicated policies regarding the use of employee-owned devices that connect to the company network. 

Both the employer and employee can have legitimate concerns about data security and privacy when employees use mobile devices, especially mobile devices that employees also use for personal reasons. We noted earlier the general security concern about the vulnerability of mobile devices as gateways to your customers’ entire tech ecosystem. However, there are also concerns about data that can get shared between a mobile device and your system. Will the mobile application also get HR-related data? 

Employees have reason to be concerned about what personal data on their devices their employers may see or access when a company app gets installed. Some companies may require employees to install a remote data deletion application as a security measure that protects employer data. But what will it do to the personal data? 

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse provides a useful overview of the security, privacy, and legal issues that a BYOD policy must address. 

phone inside app

Biometric Time Clocks Give You and Your Customers Options 

Adding biometric time clocks to your offerings is a fast way to upgrade the tech-savvy edge to your brand and business model. Biometric time clocks improve data quality, reduce administrative errors, and result in faster payroll processing time.  

They also create more time clock options for your customers, including prospects that may think they need a mobile clock option. There’s no question that using mobile time tracking makes life easier for employees who work in the field. Companies that have field agents may think it makes sense to allow onsite employees to use their personal devices to track their hours, too. When you offer biometric time clocks, you can open the conversation with these prospects and help them understand how they can minimize the risks of mobile device time tracking by limiting their use to field agents. 

If biometric time clocks are sounding like a valuable type of time clock to pair with your solution, reach out to ATS today and schedule a consultation. 

FAQs on Biometric Time Clocks

What is a biometric time clock?
  • A biometric time clock uses a specific biometric marker from each employee to authenticate that employee’s identity at the time clock. Common types of biometric time clock readers are fingerprint and facial recognition.
Why are biometric time clocks more secure than mobile devices?
  • Biometric time clocks offer several advantages over mobile devices. They provide more reliable and accurate payroll data, are physically more durable, and are immune to common issues faced with mobile devices such as loss, battery depletion, theft, and distractions. In addition, the software on the biometric time clock is more secure and less prone to corruption.
What industries can benefit most from using biometric time clocks?
  • Industries where employees don’t have individual workspaces and computers, such as manufacturing, hospitality, and healthcare, can greatly benefit from using biometric time clocks. These workplaces are usually crowded and busy, and relying on employee mobile devices for time tracking can raise challenges like increased security risk and unreliable attendance data collection.
How do biometric time clocks improve payroll accuracy?
  • Biometric time clocks improve payroll accuracy by automating attendance data collection. When an employee can’t clock in or out on their mobile phone, that work time has to be tracked and managed manually, which involves costs and risks associated with manual attendance data entry and reconciliation. Biometric time clocks ensure maximum uptime to collect accurate work hours.
What is the lifespan of a biometric time clock?
  • The lifespan of biometric time clocks is typically well over ten years, which makes them more physically durable than mobile devices.
How does a biometric time clock work with a workforce management system?
  • The software on a biometric time clock is built to integrate easily and securely with external workforce management solutions. Work hour data needs to flow back into the software and other systems on a regular and reliable basis. This integration is easier and more secure with a biometric time clock than with individual mobile devices.
What is the process to enroll an employee in a biometric time tracking system?
  • The enrollment process in a biometric time tracking system is simple. The time clock captures the biometric data of the employee, which the system then uses to authenticate the employee when they clock in and out. This data is converted into a secure algorithm, ensuring there’s no risk of employees losing control over their biometric information.
How can biometric time clocks improve compliance with strict data privacy laws?
  • Organizations that collect data subject to specific data privacy laws can avoid risks associated with mobile devices by using biometric time clocks. Mobile devices, especially those under a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program, can pose risks of sharing confidential information. These risks can be avoided by not allowing employees to use mobile devices while at work.
Can employees clock in without a phone using biometric time clocks?
  • Yes, employees don’t need a mobile device to clock in when using biometric time clocks. The clock uses the employee’s unique biometric markers, such as their fingerprint or face, to verify their identity.
Are biometric time clocks suitable for businesses of all sizes?
  • Yes, biometric time clocks can be beneficial for businesses of all sizes by improving data quality, reducing administrative errors, and speeding up payroll processing time. They offer more reliable and secure time tracking options for all kinds of workplaces, from field workers to on-site employees.

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