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CAD Data Security Is in Your Hands — Literally

2 Aug, 2016 By: Cadalyst Staff

Mobile workstations with integrated palm vein scanners give users a quick, reliable way to secure CAD files and other important data.

Editor's note: Through a sponsorship by Fujitsu, Cadalyst editors bring you this feature, part of a special series of articles designed to educate CAD users and managers about the benefits of professional workstation technology.

James Bond is known as much for his highly advanced technology as for his sharp fashion sense and smooth one-liners. In his movies, Bond demonstrates the wonders of amphibious cars, watches that shoot laser beams, and even eyeball-based identification systems. So it's understandable that filmgoers might think that retinal scanning is the cutting edge in user verification — but they'd be mistaken.

Retina scanning is one type of biometric verification (which is the use of a unique personal trait to identify users and grant them access to secure spaces or data). It is not, however, the most reliable biometric technology. Nor is it the best choice for securing that increasingly important tool, the mobile workstation. That distinction goes instead to PalmSecure™ technology from Fujitsu, which has a false-acceptance rate (FAR) of about 0.00001%. That's much more accurate than the FARs of systems that verify the user's retina (.0001%), fingerprint (.001%), voice (.01%), or face (1.3%).

Bond Can Do Better

PalmSecure technology doesn't read fingerprints, voice patterns, or the interiors of eyes. Instead, it uses a near-infrared scan to map the network of blood vessels in the user's palm, then compares that unique pattern to a record stored in a database or on a security card. The user simply holds his or her hand over the scanner, and a match is confirmed — or denied — in less than two seconds. Unlike a password, the palm vein pattern cannot be forgotten by the owner, shared with another user, or stolen by a criminal.

"There are more than five million reference points collected per scan, which is one reason why palm vein authentication is more reliable than other types of biometric verification; the stability and availability of the position of the veins over the whole lifetime is another," explained Thomas Bengs, head of PalmSecure, EMEIA, at Fujitsu.

  • There is no physical contact between the user and the sensor; even sharing a sensor among multiple users causes no hygiene concerns.
  • Use is quick and discreet enough for operation in public.
  • Because the sensor can only function when blood is flowing through the veins, photocopies or other forgeries of the vein pattern cannot deceive the system.
  • With a thickness of just 5 mm, the sensor can be embedded in computers of any size.

PalmSecure's operation is unaffected by many environmental factors that can stymie other biometric verification methods, including:

  • dirt or dust
  • temperature or humidity
  • bright or dim lighting conditions
  • scratches or scrapes on the user's skin
  • hand lotion or grease on the user's skin.

A Strong Solo or Team Player

Fujitsu provides palm vein scanners for a variety of applications, including notebook and desktop computers, copiers and printers, and wall-mounted access systems. Although separate, external scanners are available from several sources, Fujitsu is the only company to offer a palm vein verification scanner embedded in the chassis of its mobile workstations.

Fujitsu's 15.6-inch CELSIUS H760 offers the patented PalmSecure technology as an optional feature. In addition to an ultrahigh-definition screen, the CELSIUS H760 offers Intel Core or Xeon E3-1500M processors; support for error-correcting code (ECC) memory; and NVIDIA Quadro graphics, including the M2000M graphics processing unit (GPU), which features 640 CUDA parallel processor cores.

The CELSIUS H760 also comes with an integrated SmartCard reader, which can be used in tandem with a PalmSecure sensor. For example, those who are working in areas without reliable Internet access may choose to have the PalmSecure system perform its check against a SmartCard instead of against a cloud-based database.

An Ounce of Prevention

The unfortunate reality is that whether you're a super-spy or not, the CAD designs, company data, and other sensitive information on your mobile workstation are increasingly at risk. And as businesses become more fully digital, work teams scatter across the globe, and malicious attacks become more sophisticated, the threat is only getting worse.

Imagine what you could lose if you were caught up in one of these all-too-common scenarios:

  • A fellow employee uses your computer without permission, and accidentally deletes crucial files or downloads a virus;
  • A hacker activates your machine remotely, collecting the data needed to steal your identity;
  • An industrial espionage agent copies files from your mobile workstation while you're in the bathroom at the coffee shop; or
  • A thief snatches your computer bag at the train station while you're busy checking your phone.

In comparison, the cost of adding a robust palm-vein verification system to your machine is negligible. "The increase in cost is minimal," confirmed Bengs. "It's in the range of 3% to 7%, depending on which workstation the PalmSecure technology is installed in." That's a small price to pay for protection.

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