True Systems Integration
There are many factors to understand with respect to systems integration, and true systems integration is much more than simply connecting a biometric device to a computer system. This section starts with a discussion around systems definition in order to set the scene for the rest of the chapter. From an understanding of systems definition, we move on to the subject of systems components and, in particular, the concept of biometrics as a systems component. We acknowledge that all systems are subject to evolutionary change, as are individual systems components. The possibility of change must therefore be allowed for in systems design and systems architecture. The registration process is a vital part of any system which features biometric identity verification. Consequently, this must be allowed for in the design of the overall system and its administration. It must similarly be reflected in the operational processes and procedures associated with the broader system. The registration process is thus discussed and feeds into a broader discussion around the operational process. Factors such as administration, including exception handling, messaging, data management and maintenance of a directory system are relevant in this context. With respect to operational data, we discuss the storage of biometric credentials on portable media and portable devices, as well as remote databases, and consider factors such as performance and administration. The biometric matching process is explained in some detail, including discussion around the associated systems infrastructure, communications and the location of the matching process. Systems and data security form an important part of any system and the biometric element renders this area of even greater importance. It is discussed in broad terms including the importance of system component configuration, the distinction between data in transit and data at rest, and even with respect to secure application development. This discussion naturally leads to thoughts around systems scalability, operational performance and systems architecture, including network configuration and security. Supporting factors such as audit logging and centralised log management are relevant, as are applications and systems testing procedures. This chapter thus provides a framework within which many aspects of systems integration may be considered.