How Is Biometric Data Stored In Access Control Systems?

Fingerprint scanners, facial recognition readers, and biometric technology have become integral parts of our modern security infrastructure. They offer a robust means of identification, using unique biological traits that cannot be easily replicated or forgotten. This article delves into the fascinating world of biometric data, focusing on fingerprint scanners and facial recognition, exploring how they capture, store, and use this information to ensure security.


Fingerprint Capture and Analysis

When it comes to biometric fingerprint technology, the first stage is the capture of an individual’s fingerprint. Unlike a password, a fingerprint is unique to a person and cannot be amended or forgotten. Once a piece of biometric data is captured, it is analysed and converted into a biometric template. This is a binary mathematical representation of the original fingerprint, based on the analysis of the minutiae – usually the endings and bifurcations of ridges within the fingerprint. One essential aspect of this process is that the resulting template cannot be reverse engineered into a picture of a fingerprint. This ensures that the original fingerprint remains secure and private.

It should be noted that not all fingerprint scanners employ this method of registration, inferior models may indeed, just capture an image of a fingerprint. This is not as secure as those systems which convert the print into a binary code by applying an algorithm.


Storing Biometric Data

Biometric data can be stored in various ways, each with its advantages and potential risks. A hardware-based recognition system offers a fast response during user authentication, as biometric templates are stored locally on a specific piece of hardware. On-device storage, common on smartphones with touch ID fingerprint sensors, keeps data separately from the device’s network. Biometric servers allow for multi-location verification but are more susceptible to cyber-attacks. Therefore, encryption is vital when transferring data over the network.

Distributed data storage further enhances security by storing biometric templates on both a server and a device, making it harder for cybercriminals to access the data. However, this method may be more suitable for companies looking to maintain complete control over the data, accepting the associated risks and liabilities.


Liveness Detection and Security

Biometric scanners’ ability to detect whether the source of a biometric sample is a live human being or a fake representation is essential. Liveness detection techniques analyse data collected from biometric sensors to make this determination. Such methods are particularly valuable in fingerprint scanners, where there might be concerns about the use of a deceased person’s fingerprint or other spoofing attempts. Interestingly, a deceased person’s fingerprint would be unlikely to work on a quality reader after a short period of time, because the lack of blood flow would change the minutiae, particularly the ridges.

Consistently improving algorithms effectively thwart these attempts, analysing the data to detect whether the source is live or reproduced. This technology adds an extra layer of security, ensuring that false authentication is significantly reduced.


Facial Recognition Data

Facial recognition is another powerful form of biometric authentication that is gaining traction in various applications. Like fingerprint scanners, facial recognition systems capture and process unique facial features. The data is stored and used in much the same way as fingerprint data, providing a secure and convenient means of authentication.

Its emergence as a vital authentication tool showcases the continuous innovation in biometric technology, helping enhance security across multiple platforms.


Understanding how biometric data is captured, stored, and utilised is crucial in an era where security breaches are all too common. The sophistication of fingerprint scanners and facial recognition technology provides robust protection, ensuring that our personal information remains safe. Systems such as Almas’ Optima ID showcase the advanced capabilities of modern biometric technology, aligning privacy, convenience, and security in a seamless manner.


Ask The Experts

At Almas, we take security very seriously. We design, test, and build our own biometric fingerprint scanners to be the best quality in the market. Our biometric templates are stored in a binary format and encrypted within a database. Our system effectively has three levels of security, preventing fingerprint data from being accessed by anything other than the biometric reader for the purposes of verification.

Furthermore, our commitment to privacy and security is unwavering, and we continually strive to provide solutions that are at the forefront of biometric technology.

If you’re interested in leveraging the power of biometric technology within your business, contact us today for a consultation. We will advise you every step of the way, including ensuring that you are GDPR compliant. Our dedication to safeguarding your security is our top priority.

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