A biometric safe is a safe which uses biometric technology to identify authorized users. In some cases, the safe may be totally biometric, while in other instances, biometrics may be combined with the use of a combination lock, key, or card swiper for additional security. The idea behind a biometric safe is that the use of biometric identification increases security, making the safe a reliable location for storing sensitive materials.
Biometric technology uses unique human characteristics as identification markers. Iris scans, hand and finger prints, facial scans, voice recognition, and DNA testing can all be used in biometrics. Fingerprint scanners are especially popular with biometric safes, since fingerprints are very reliable and unique forms of identification, and the technology used for fingerprint scanners is easy to mount on a safe. Advanced safes may require multiple forms of biometric identification, like a voiceprint and a thumbprint, for extra security.
When a biometric safe is programmed, it is given a list of authorized users and the biometric traits that the safe can use to identify those users. Some safes have sophisticated technology which differentiates between users who are authorized to open the safe, and users who can open and reprogram the safe. A supervisor, for example, might be given reprogramming capability, while a temporary employee might only be allowed to open the safe.
In the case of a fully biometric safe, the user allows the safe to identify him or her, and the safe opens automatically, allowing the user to access the inside. In a combination safe, after the user has been recognized, the safe will also require the manipulation of a combination, the use of a key, or some other procedure to ensure that the user is indeed authorized to open the safe. Some biometric safes also have a panic feature, so that people can indicate the fact that they are being forced to open the safe.
A high-quality biometric safe will be water and fireproof, with a housing which protects the biometric technology in the event of a fire, flood, or earthquake. Otherwise, the safe might be damaged beyond repair, requiring the services of a cracking company to open the safe. A wide variety of media can be stored in a biometric safe, depending on the housing and construction. Some safes, for example, are chilled or heated to store climate-sensitive materials, while others may house hard drives, racks for media storage devices, and other special features tailored to unique items.