Aaron Ellis, spokesman for the American Association of Port Authorities, said TWIC cards are “far superior” to what was used in the past and are issued after significant background checks and are “very difficult” to duplicate and forge.With all the attention being paid to airline security, it's easy to overlook seaport infrastructure.
However, TWIC cards are little more than “flash cards” without the electronic readers, he said. Some port authorities are taking the financial risk of developing their own electronic card-reading system to improve security, he said.
This article broaches two issues that are of particular interest to suppliers and consumers of biometric identity management systems: regulatory risk and interoperability.
Ports are fortunate that they haven't had a one-size-fits-all solution forced upon them, because the political process has a poor track record at devising systems that appropriately balance security and commercial interests (see the TSA's airport security regulations). The TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) system regulates the ID card to be used at ports and the process for obtaining one but it does not mandate how the individual ports use it. This offers ports the opportunity to adopt the security protocols that best match their individual circumstances.
This, however, puts the onus on ports to adopt the security protocols that best match their individual circumstances which presents challenges of its own.
As with many organizations, Ports can recognize a significant ROI (Return on Investment) by integrating biometric identity management techniques into their business processes, but calculating ROI involves weighing the cost and benefits of a decision over time.
If a port does everything perfectly, implementing a biometric identity management system that accomplishes the task of getting people into the facilities with dramatically reduced time and labor costs, risks remain that will alter the ROI calculation. Regulations might be enacted that impose other costs (regulatory risk), or other ports may adopt a different system that is incompatible with the system they use (interoperability risk).
Regulatory risk and interoperability risk are real, but technologies do exist that can help firms ameliorate these risks. SecurLinx has developed technology (middleware) that address both of these risks. Our middleware enables scalable and modular biometric deployments that facilitate integration with all major biometric service providers.
With SecurLinx technology, a firm that invests in a biometric identity management system and then opts to integrate that system with another system can do so cheaply and effectively. Moreover an organization that finds success with one type of biometric system (ex. fingerprint time-and-attendance) can integrate another type of system (ex. face-recognition) without starting from scratch or being forced to run two parallel and incompatible IT systems.
Biometrics should deliver maximum ROI. We can help.