The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: June 2007

At the forefront of logical biometrics

1 June 2007

A report by the International Biometric Group (IBG) states global revenues are expected to reach $4,04 billion by the end of 2007, driven by large-scale public sector biometric deployments and standardised biometric infrastructures.
Worldwide, the acceptance of biometrics and specifically fingerprint identification technology is growing at a phenomenal rate. In South Africa, the application of biometrics is set to grow to unprecedented heights due to the heavy investment committed to the technology by both the government and private sectors.
In order to necessitate national identity management (IDM) solutions, the provision of a fully automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) that would form the backbone of all future IDM solutions is critical. The Ideco Group, a privately owned BEE company and sole distributor of Sagem in southern Africa, through its successful implementation of large-scale civil and forensic solutions, has led the implementation of such an AFIS and positioned itself as Africa's clear market leader in IDM solutions.
Indeed, the Ideco Group has championed the foundations on which large-scale IDM solutions will be built on in South Africa. In October 2006, Ideco completed the world's largest back record conversion (BRC) of over 32 million paper-based fingerprint records to digital format for the Department of Home Affairs.
A more secure logical environment
The commercial applications that arise from this monumental achievement are virtually limitless. Ideco, as the sole distributor of Sagem's world-leading biometric fingerprint technology, has also established itself as southern Africa's leading provider of unique enterprise-wide identity management (IDM) solutions. Due to the capabilities provided through the BRC, Ideco is South Africa's sole provider of automated criminal background checks for the private sector.
Put more simply, the identity of an employee needs to be verified each time the employee engages with a company's physical or information-based assets. Ideco offers complete IDM based on a common biometric platform to allow strict control and monitoring of a wide range of IDM transactions.
For example: Ideco's exclusive AFISwitch solution is a biometric fingerprint-based criminal background search system. AFISwitch interfaces directly with the national South African Police Services (SAPS) automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) to determine the criminal record status of job applicants, with a turn-around time of 48 hours. AFISwitch therefore allows companies and institutions to undertake background checks on job applicants and existing employees as well as to obtain clearance certificates for the purpose of emigration, permanent residence and international investments.
The application of biometric technology is also lending itself to a more secure logical environment, where fraud can be avoided by integrating fingerprint readers into IT systems. Ideco provides Sagem Xelios' leading logical access control solutions to secure access to all company PCs and networks. These logical access control solutions lend themselves to a wide number of applications including single-sign-on (SSO) for corporate networks, authentication for Internet banking, encryption and decryption of files and folders and other password replacement applications.
Of key importance to companies is the interchange of data between logical and physical access systems. For example, by using fingerprints to control access to the physical workplace as well as for PC login, all requests for access are monitored across the physical and logical platforms by a central system. The central system can therefore detect if a computer is still logged in after a person has exited the workplace. The system can automatically log the computer off to prevent unauthorised use.
According to Vhonani Mufamadi, CEO of the Ideco Group: "Sequencing the largest conversion of fingerprint records in the world was a pioneering venture in South Africa and its success has created an identity management revolution. We have opened the door into a new era of managing information and network security, national biometric ID cards, passports, immigration, border control, drivers' licences and pensions." Mufamadi asserts that: 'Since AFIS was commissioned in 2001, and its big role in the national security, Sagem fingerprint technology has become a powerful tool in the fight against information crime. We see a very positive future for fingerprint technology in securing all logical transactions in South Africa's commercial and private systems."
Vhonani Mufamadi
Vhonani Mufamadi
For more information contact Olivia Kwietniewski, +27 (0)11 745 5600, 082 828 2632,

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