Thursday, February 14, 2008

Biometric hamburgers

I've always liked the Digital Persona biometric fingerprint product. I did a lot of work with Vance Bjorn (DP's CTO) while I was at Microsoft as they were developing the biometric keyboard and mouse for Microsoft.

Interestingly enough I was involved in a huge argument with the security guys at Microsoft who refused to allow those devices to be used for domain authentication. Their argument was that it was not foolproof. Of course, passwords are, aren't they? (c.f. A $7.2B password mistake?) As a personal aside I do not miss that set of bozos. Oh, and I use a fingerprint scanner for domain authentication on my Lenovo X60 laptop today. Anyway, I digress.

There's a great article in Network World that talks about White Castle's use of Digital Persona's product. Here's the conclusion from the article...

The results have been impressive. White Castle has focused on several applications that were extremely paper intensive prior to the implementation:

* Enrollment in benefit programs – By having employees enroll online, data entry mistakes are reduced and employees can begin receiving benefits sooner.

* Labor scheduling – Only specific people can approve the schedules, and electronic schedules and signatures have speeded up the process. Long says White Castle saved $12 million last year on just this one application.

* Direct payroll deposit – Rather than mailing paychecks to employees, White Castle has implemented direct deposit for everyone. Employees can print a paystub on a local printer after validating their identities. The company saves over $50,000 a year with this new process.

It's great to see security being an enabler for a change!

Oh, by the way: The Digital Persona product is not only very well integrated with Active Directory but also Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM). As a bonus, you can even use Group Policy to control the device and its various security settings and policies!! Sweet.

P.S. According to Vance over 30M laptops with biometric fingerprint scanners will ship this year!

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