How Biometric Time Clocks Benefit From Having The Right Middleware in Place

Discussions about biometric time clocks often focus on the functionality of the readers. The biometric readers are the fun, cool looking part.

However, a lot goes on behind the scenes of time clocks that’s critical to the secure, scalable functionality of biometric employee time and attendance tracking systems. This is where the middleware steps in to take the humble hero role.

The middleware technology sitting between the biometric time clocks and your workforce management software is the communication and data management bridge that dictates how the entire biometric time clock system works.

Biometric technology is a great innovation and a welcome addition to employee time and attendance management systems. Your customers can experience numerous benefits from deploying near-real-time, automated time tracking software.

However, for it to work for your customers – and you – you need the right middleware that enables you to handle both individual biometric clock punches and system wide management of the biometric time clock fleets of all your customers with ease.

A Review of Common Biometric Reader Options

A biometric scan collects thousands of data points. The systems where they’re stored are made up of a large volume of data to distinguish among people enrolled in the same biometric system.

Each biometrics reader uses technology that captures the biometric data that’s scanned when an employee presents their physical attribute, fingerprint, face or hand, at the clock. We use an algorithm that converts the biometric data into an encrypted data string which creates a secure template on the middleware that cannot be reverse engineered or reconstructed. Where these biometric reader options differ is in the biometric data they scan.

  1. Fingerprint: There are various fingerprint technologies which collect different biometric data. Some map the swirls and also measure ridge and valley depth. More advanced biometric fingerprint technology captures vein patterns below the surface.
  2. Palmprint: Palms are also individually unique, like fingerprint biometrics. Similar to a fingerprint scan, the data collected from a palm can include topical features, like depth variations and also vein patterns below the surface.
  3. Facial recognition: This scan marks features and maps their relative distance from each other, as well as collecting depth and topical information on individual features.

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The Difference Between Employee Identification and Verification

Regardless of which reader option is used, the biometric system can be set up to answer one of these questions:

Who is the person being scanned? A biometric system asking this question is trying to identify the person, we call this Identify Mode. After the reader scans the biometric feature used, it has to search through a collection of templates to find a match. If a match is found, the biometric system knows who the person is and acts accordingly, like accepting a time clock punch. The more templates stored on the time clock, the greater the risk of a false positive identification.

Is this person who they say they are?

Using this method, the biometrics reader has to verify the person’s biometric information matches a specific template, we call this Verify Mode. Unlike Identify Mode, the verification system makes a one-to-one comparison. It doesn’t search its collection of templates to find a match. To do this, the employee has to use another method to identify themselves at the time clock.

They could enter a unique PIN on the time clock’s keypad or swipe with some other type of badge or card. This is where a specific template is selected. Only after identifying themselves with the alternate method, do employees use the biometric reader. The biometrics data collected in the scan is compared against the selected template. If the data matches the selected template, the employee is authorized to use the time clock. If not, the time clock won’t accept any further action from the person.

Thus, verification is a two-step process, which could take longer than the one-step identification process. However, if the time clock has sufficient processing power and memory, the time difference is imperceptible to humans, especially since the identification process also needs time to search the template collection.

The Benefits of Using Communication and Data Management Middleware to Manage Employee Biometric Templates

Here at Accu-Time Systems (ATS), the middleware software is responsible for distributing the data to time clocks and the back-end systems. The more the middleware is designed to manage, the more benefits it offers, including streamlining your team’s ability to manage all your customers’ time clock fleets and integrations with your system.

Automates the Biometric Template Management at the Time Clock Employees can only use time clocks where their template is stored. Every time there’s a new hire, separation, or an employee changes work location, many time clocks need to get updated. Instead of needing to update each affected time clock separately, the middleware makes all the necessary changes shortly after the employee information is updated in the back-end system.

The middleware grabs the updated employee information, which it uses to distribute the employee’s biometric template to the time clocks that need it and if necessary, remove the template from those that don’t.

Improves Security and Continuity of the Templates

All biometric templates are stored on the middleware as a backup to the smaller template sets stored on different time clocks. If a time clock goes offline or gets corrupted, affected employees don’t need to re-enroll. The middleware restores the templates to the time clock.

Because the ATS middleware also pushes out security updates for all the time clocks, you can ensure that no business running time clocks lacks the most current security protection for the templates stored there.

ATS prioritizes both yours and your customers security needs by encrypting all of the employee and biometric data when the time clocks are at rest, and during data transmission.

Handles the Collection and Storage of Biometric Consent Data Many jurisdictions require employers to get employee consent to participate in a biometric attendance system. Even if not required, gaining employee consent is a best practice that all your customers with biometric time clocks should follow.

The ATS middleware can be configured to collect consent to participate in the biometrics system electronically at the time clock, as part of the enrollment process. The employee’s consent data is then stored on the middleware. If a company wants to update the messaging around biometric attendance tracking presented on the time clock, it only needs to update it in the middleware.

Provides Economies of Scale

The ATS middleware can handle many time clock management tasks easily, without requiring human intervention at each time clock. That means, it will take your team no more effort to push out a security patch to one business and its fleet of time clocks, as it does to push it out to thousands of your customers.

With access to an admin dashboard, it also helps your team roll out customer-specific changes more quickly, like adding a new function button to the biometric time clock or updating the biometrics consent process. Once a change is made at the middleware level, it automates the distribution of the change to all the time clocks you’ve selected. With the middleware handling distribution, your team has more capacity to engage and support a growing customer base with the same resources.

Integrating Your Systems with ATS’s Proven communication and Data Management Middleware

A biometric clocking system provides several advantages for your customers, which is why they’re growing in popularity. They provide the greatest advantages when operating in a more sophisticated technology environment, ideally with middleware built to handle the storage and device access requirements for the biometric templates stored there. AccuCloud, our employee time and attendance data collection system, includes a middleware layer specifically designed to handle the full integration of all pieces that make up a biometric time clock system, including your software. AccuCloud’s time clock data collection software has biometric template management capabilities built into it.

The middleware is hosted by ATS and is accessible to your team through a web-based management portal. The management portal is where you can see integration status between time clocks and your system, as well as other time clock utilization information.

In addition to storing and managing biometric templates, the AccuCloud middleware is also built to share the widest scope of data between the time clocks and your system.

The alternative to buying a purpose-built middleware layer for biometrics and application data sharing, is to build your own middleware and time clock application for storing and managing biometric templates. This is an alternative that requires a significant investment of time and money to develop and will slow down speed to market to resell time clocks.

Middleware that Supports Your Solution’s Integration with a Biometric Time Clock

Having the right middleware between biometric time clocks and your software is critical to offering your customers a sophisticated biometric time tracking solution. The AccuCloud solution and its middleware layer, are purpose-built to handle biometric systems and their integration with comprehensive software solutions that make it easy to scale your business.

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