Government Technology

Mahoning County Sheriff's Office Replaces Passwords with Fingerprint Biometrics



October 6, 2008 By

The Mahoning County, Ohio, Sheriff's Office, who recently teamed up with BIO-key International and Sig-Tec, announced today the deployment of a fingerprint biometrics-based identity and access management system. The Mahoning agency is one of the first in the nation to use fingerprint biometrics instead of passwords to secure computer workstations and the software applications and databases that reside on them.

With the new identity and access management software, authorized staff can now access the Mahoning County Sheriff's office network and applications quickly and securely with the touch of their finger.

Administrators faced with the challenge of reducing IT costs are utilizing the partnership's biometric solution to reduce help desk workload, eliminating the need to handle forgotten passwords and password resets. Additionally, this solution is more secure than conventional passwords and is preferred by users since it is more convenient than managing a multitude of complex passwords that require constant change in order to satisfy IT security requirements. Biometric authentication also removes the possibility of passwords being inappropriately shared, forgotten or stolen.

In the first deployment phase, the enhanced authentication process will be used within the county's correctional facilities, where secure access to systems and data is especially critical. More than 300 enrolled correctional officers and civilian staff now use fingerprint-based log on to access any workstation within the complex that encompasses thirteen buildings.

"The solution was amazingly quick to install and configure," reported Charles Van Dyke, deputy officer. "Sig-Tec's project management and support team led by Paul Kobs, together with my staff, completed the job remotely within about eight hours."

The new products secure the workstation and allow for biometric authentication for network and application access. The biometric credentials are captured at enrollment with VST identification software. Because VST stores each user's fingerprint as a mathematical template, the user's fingerprint image isn't stored on any computer or in any database -- further protecting security as well as privacy. The end-user simply puts their finger on the KSI keyboard with an integrated UPEK biometric fingerprint reader for access into both the network and authorized applications at any workstation throughout the facility.

"In addition to increased security and improved workflow, another benefit of this solution is that it will reduce password management and password reset support calls by over 90 percent," said Sales Manager, John McGuire.

"The requirement to address the ever growing need to secure the network and the desktop for both the safety of the employees and the organization is critical to every entity," added Michael DePasquale, CEO of Bio-key. "Implementing this solution not only meets these requirements while reducing operational costs, but also addresses compliance with regulations such as FIPS 201 credentialing, FFIEC compliance, HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley, Visa PCI, and the Electronic Signatures Act."

-cmm


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