Verifi FingerTouch Security Professional
Strengths: Easy to use; can do single sign-on
Weaknesses: No central management
Verdict: Good protection for a single PC or notebook, but without any central management it's not ideal for large installations
Zvetco Biometrics's Verifi FingerTouch Security Professional is a USB fingerprint reader with the necessary software to lock-down a single Windows-based PC. It's simple to install and the Verifi ID Manager software is equally easy to manage.
Once installed you're asked to register both index fingers and provide your Windows username and password, so that your biometric data is linked to your log-on. Strangely, Verifi ID doesn't automatically make itself the primary log-on option for Windows, probably because of a lingering component from another biometric product. Until we changed this, we could still log onto Windows using the standard logon screen.
Verifi ID Manager lets you choose how you want to allow people to log onto the PC: fingerprint or password; or, more secure still, fingerprint and password.
However, you'll need to register the fingerprints of every user that needs access to that PC; it's a shame that there's no central management of fingerprints, as this would make large roll-outs easier to manage. Zvetco does supply client-server versions with central management, but did not supply it for testing.
For an extra level of security, Verifi ID can also be used with smart cards or USB tokens. Setting a custom log-on, you can force authentication to a PC to require the USB token, fingerprint and password. The USB tokens can also be used to take a backup of a user's ID, which is handy if one stored on the PC is corrupted.
Verifi ID can also be used to block access to applications, so you can give different users different access rights, and to store web and application passwords.
This is a flexible and powerful authentication service. However, this version's lack of network management means it is only suitable for small rollouts: adding management tools would step it up for large deployment.