What level of card security do I need?

How secure do you need your ID cards?

This is a common question from our customers. The level of card security depends on a number of factors but we will try to break it down in basic bullet list:

PVC printed ID card

  • If visual identification is all you require, then a simple photo ID may work just fine. This is a simple, low cost solution and it can be implemented quickly and easily.
  • For this ID, you can simply include you company logo and employee name OR you can considering adding photo, title or access level.
    1. Benefits: low cost, professional and easy entry-level ID solution
    2. Risks: this does not automate access control (i.e. turn card “off” once no longer at company) and some interaction may be required to validate a user.
  • If this security solution will meet your needs, please contact ASAP for information on an ID printer OR for ASAP to print cards on your behalf.

Mag stripe or bar code printed ID card

  • If your organization requires a slightly higher level of security than a simple visual ID, consider a magnetic stripe or bar code solution. This is also a low cost and easy solution to implement that may meet your needs.
  • How can a mag stripe or bar code system work? It may be used for clocking in/out, logging into a POS system, checking books in/out as well as paying for meals on an account simply by swiping the card through a mag stripe or bar code reader connected to your company system.
  • Bar codes can be 1D, 2D or QR codes depending on the amount of data to be stored. Mag strips are low, mid or high-co and again can store a variety of data on 1, 2 or 3 “tracks”.
  • Benefits and Risks are the same as PVC only ID cards. It adds a slightly higher level of function but very little added security.

Proximity ID card

  • Proximity cards/fobs are considered “keyless access”. They offer facilities an easier and more affordable way to control access by issuing Prox “keys” which they can simple “turn off” once the person no longer requires access without having to track down a physical key. Prox also allows tracking of access when readers are required for access control (buildings, parking lots, etc). This would be considered a “moderate” security solution.
  • Users are also able to control access on schedules and/or grant access to certain areas only to certain employees.
  • Finally, you are able to print on most Prox cards to allow you to include both visual security with electronic access control.

Smart (contact and contactless) ID card

  • The highest level of card security are consider Smart Cards.
    • Contactless smart cards use high-frequency radio frequency identification (RFID) and a memory chip to store data (2K, 8K, 16K, etc). The larger the chip, the more capacity to store/encrypt. These cards can be used for building/parking access, secured access to rooms, cabinets, closets, logical access, inventory tracking, cashless vending, clocking in/out.
    • There are risks….primarily privacy concerns since devices store data and can be read by another device if in the wrong hands.
  • Contact smart cards include a chip/microprocessor on the card with enormous storage capacity. These cards must be inserted into a special reader to access data but these are more secure cards and cannot be skimmed (no RFID). Consider the new chip credit cards as an example of contact cards are work. These, too, can have a photo/name added to include visual security if needed.


Screen shot 2014-10-03 at 10.23.49 PMMagicard’s patented HoloKote security prints a watermark graphic into the overlay panel during the normal card printing cycle, providing anti-counterfeit protection for your cards. The image prints in a grid pattern across the entire card surface as a frosted image that is invisible when viewed normally. When flexed or held at an angle in direct light, the HoloKote image becomes clearly visible.

When combined with HoloPatch cards this watermark can be visible in all light conditions.

With the Rio Pro you can print a HoloKote Flex image across the entire card surface. This can be customized to your own logo or security design by using the Custom HoloKote feature.

See samples at

News from Allegion: Smart Cards Offer Many Advantages

Screen shot 2014-09-23 at 10.39.54 AMSmart cards offer many advantages over proximity cards

Proximity readers and cards have been on the market for over 25 years. As the first contactless card that can be “read” without inserting or creating contact with a reader, proximity cards advanced credentials forward significantly.

However, proximity cards are not without their limitations. Namely, storage and security. The storage on proximity cards is limited to the card number alone—making it functional for only one purpose. Additionally, proximity technology is highly susceptible to counterfeits and duplication.

Smart card technology solves both issues.

  • Storage: There are multiple sectors on a smart card, allowing for storage of several different types of applications, including access control, POS, computer access, data storage and cashless vending. Smart cards can be used for multiple purposes and are 100 times faster than proximity credentials.
  • Security: With advanced data encryption, duplication is nearly impossible. As an added level of security, smart technology requires mutual authentication—between the card and reader.

Making the transition
It’s fairly simple to transition to smart cards on existing systems. Allegion’s aptiQ™ Multi-Technology Readers allow companies to move at their own pace because they read both 125 kHz proximity and 13.56 MHz contactless smart cards in a single unit. Even more, Allegion’s aptiQ readers are very easy to install or replace with a quick-connect design that uses standard wiring.

Read more industry insights regarding sorting through credential technology choices by Allegion.

Want more information on Allegion’s aptiQ smart card technology? Contact Sheila Brown today!

FOX News Reports on Identiv’s NFC Solutions for Healthcare Management

Another technology that can revolutionize health care involves the use of NFC (near field communication) tags. Unlike QR codes, which can be printed by the pharmacist on a prescription label, NFC tags are more like microchips, embedded in the bottle. They can monitor the weight of the bottle to determine whether a pill has been taken out, and they can be “easily programmed with a doctor’s instructions, including correct dosage, cautions, drug interactions and additional information that won’t fit on a current label,” said Jason Hart, CEO and Director of Identiv, Inc., a maker of NFC technology for the health care industry.

Read Full Article Here

QR Codes: the high-tech, low-cost Smart ID Card solution

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 1.24.46 PM copyConfirming someone’s identity before giving them access to facilities or work sites is crucial for your security. In the past, most organizations used passive photo ID cards to prove identity. Now a days, Smart ID Cards are being used within organizations to improve security and reduce the risk of fraud. These new systems can be expensive and cumbersome to maintain.

Enter the Quick Response Code. This QR code is a 2 dimensional black and white barcode that provides a high-tech but low-cost method of meeting security requirements. They are quite popular due to the fast readability and data storage capacity as compared to standard UPC barcodes. They are not only used for store displays and websites but are also printed on business cards and IDs.

These little codes store promotions, Internet links as well as personal contact information and numbers to be used for everything from promotional and branding efforts to more traditional ID security on photo IDs. Both Jolly ID Flow and Evolis eMedia have the ability to support QR codes. Use these codes for time and attendance, contact information and marketing material.

To learn more, call on ASAP Identification Security, Inc. 317-488-1030 or

ASAP Offers NFC Tag Management Platform

tagtrail-identiveNear Field Communication (NFC) is the next generational evolution of the 13.56MHz contactless standard and is soon to be a ubiquitous technology that allows us to extend our digital lifestyles into the physical world.

NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into proximity, usually no more than a few inches.

NFC offers additional layers of security and two-way communication protocols which allow for a wide range of applications. This potential has lead to a widespread inclusion of NFC enabled chipsets in consumer mobile devices, which is in turn contributing to a near-ubiquitous deployment of the technology. It is also allowing for NFC to be integrated into security systems.

ASAP and our partner, Identive, offer an array of NFC tags, readers and software development kits for trending NFC applications. The Tagtrail™ cloud-based mobile services platform lets organizations of any size deliver dynamic, personalized content and services to consumers’ mobile devices via NFC and QR code interactions – and update their mobile campaigns based on real-time engagement analytics. Tagtrail™ delivers the right message at the right time to the right audience. Introduce new information, increase trust, drive decisions, and change behavior – with our NFC tag management platform. With Tagtrail, your messages get into customers’ personal communication devices, where they can review, share and act on them.

Ideal uses:

  • Couponing – Use Tagtrail to build and reward loyalty with your customers. We can help you target specific information or offers to specific individuals. The same tag can deliver a coupon offer to a loyal customer and a welcome message to a first-time visitor. We can also help you assign multiple-use coupons or let your customers “share the deal” with their friends.
  • Social Media – Use Tagtrail to facilitate social engagement through Facebook, Twitter or G+. Place tags at prominent spots within your environment to make it easy for visitors to check in, like or follow your business. Our pre-printed social media tags simplify the connection process for your customers.
  • Wayfinding – Use Tagtrail to guide people to your store, restaurant or event. Tags placed on posters can guide people to you with turn by turn directions from wherever the tag is deployed.
  • Advertising – Use Tagtrail to advertise weekly, daily, even hourly specials that drive customers to your business, again and again.
  • Content Sharing – Use Tagtrail to share content such as blog entries, music, videos, special (even temporary) web pages or product information. And if the content changes, don’t worry about having to change the NFC tags –just update the content via the Tagtrail website, from your PC, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
  • WiFi Connect – Use Tagtrail to help customers and visitors quickly and securely connect to your local WiFi.
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HID: Moving Toward a More “Frictionless” Security Experience

Posted on HID’s Blog on 04/19/13
by Debra Spitler

The move to a more “frictionless” security experience, meaning a security experience that does not slow users down, is one of the key trends HID Global anticipates will drive the industry in 2013. One way to remove friction is to embed credentials inside Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled smartphones and other mobile devices, so that users needn’t carry separate cards, keys and tokens. This not only removes friction but also meets the need for improved cost and convenience. For instance, organizations can still benefit from the use of strong authentication as a primary security pillar, without forcing employees to carry a dedicated security token. Instead, the token is on the user’s phone, which can also be used to open doors and conduct other secure transactions.

To make this frictionless security experience a reality, credentials will be embedded into NFC-enabled phones, and identity management will move to the cloud. Organizations will enable frictionless user login using both Software as a Service (SaaS) as well as internal enterprise applications. In a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment, employees will be able to use their personal devices. Cloud security becomes a critical ingredient. While much of today’s focus is on securing the platform, it will also be critical to resolve challenges around provisioning and revoking user identities across multiple cloud-based applications, while enabling secure, frictionless user login to those applications.

HID Global has worked with pilot partners including Netflix® and Good Technology™ to test some of these frictionless security concepts in the enterprise. The goal was to see how users would react to a mobile access control model, with cloud-based provisioning of digital keys and credentials. Both companies realized that people carry their phones everywhere and consider them to be almost like an extension of their ID (having conversations, conducting bank transactions, storing photos). This makes the devices an extremely convenient access control platform.

Frictionless access control requires more than convenience; solutions also must be easy to use. HID Global’s enterprise pilot participants found mobile access control to be as easy as using a traditional plastic card. Another requirement identified by pilot participants was a high level of device choice. This creates the need for widely available NFC-enabled phones and solutions that are based on open standards to simplify adoption, especially in a world of BYOD deployment and IT consumerization. Frictionless access control solutions based on open standards will also future-proof the access control infrastructure, ensuring that investments in today’s technologies can be leveraged in the future.

In addition to delivering the convenience and simplicity of frictionless security, the industry will also need to define best practices for managing and supporting today’s influx of BYOD mobile phones. Authentication from a personal device to an application on a corporate network or in the cloud will be critical. It also will be critical to ensure the personal privacy of BYOD users, while protecting the integrity of enterprise data and resources.

As we meet these challenges, we will deliver an increasingly frictionless security experience in a new era of cloud-based applications and services. This experience can spread rapidly as we take advantage of the smartphone’s on-board intelligence. Consider the possibilities for physical access control, alone. Today, approximately 5 percent of all facility doors have some sort of electronic access control. The rest are unsecured, or secured by a mechanical lock and key. When we let NFC-enabled smartphones serve as both the key and the rules engine that makes the access control decision, we could see more than five times that number secured and delivering a frictionless mobile experience in the future.

How can I make my ID more secure?

IDs offer just one more layer of security to your overall security plan. They can be simply a visual security tool or, with programmable cards, they can also help with physical and logical access, as well as other transactions. Either way, there are several options to add to your ID to make alteration or duplication more difficult.

Card stock with Visual Security Elements:

As the threat of fraud, theft and forgery looms large, today’s counterfeiters are more advanced than ever. The proliferation of digital printing technology has made forging legitimate-looking ID cards all too easy.

That’s why you need HID Global. Visual Security Solutions® are available including:

  • Holographic Foil Cards – Custom-designed, metallized or translucent holograms are layered inside of the card, just below the surface to add a custom layer of security.
  • Holographic Overlaminates (laminator required) – Lamination provides a layer of durability and security, especially with a custom laminate that is very difficult to replicate.
  • Holographic HDP® Film (for use with retransfer printer) – Custom HDP film offers a layer of added security to your card design.

Fluorescent Printing (UV)

Most card manufactures offer ribbons which include a fluorescent panel for printing elements on the card that are only visible under UV light. Fluorescent printing makes duplicating and forgery more difficult.

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HID article: Inline Smart Card Personalization

Posted: 02/07/13 by Nils Wahlander

Implementing smarter smart card issuance with inline personalization

No longer a novelty, smart cards are a part of daily life for many of us. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find “dumb” ID badges personalized only with a color photo and black text that function simply to help others visually verify that we are who we say we are. Today’s smart IDs serve not only as photo identification, but also as access cards, debit cards and even mass transit passes in major cities across the world.

End users who manage the issuance of these smart cards to individuals in their organizations routinely synch up data that’s pre-programmed into the card’s electronics with personal data that gets printed onto the outside of the card. Specifically, within an organization’s database, an employee record containing a photograph, name and ID number gets updated to include a unique card ID number that was pre-programmed into a contactless card (and typically pre-printed onto the card’s surface) by a access card manufacturer or a system integrator.

How quickly and accurately the cardholder’s personal information is updated with the access card’s unique ID number varies. Many organizations’ first step is to use a desktop card printer to add color and text to a card’s exterior. Next, they extract the card from the printer’s output bin, turn to their computer and manually type the pre-printed/pre-programmed ID number into that cardholder’s record in the database. If their system is slightly more automated, they may have an external desktop reader on which they can tap the smart card in order to electronically copy its ID number into the cardholder’s record.

This two-step process is used so frequently that card issuers have grown accustomed to synchronizing their cards this way, even though it adds time to the issuance process and increases the potential for keying errors. Often when a typing error is made, it is not discovered until the cardholder attempts to enter a facility and is denied access, which compounds the error and adds even more time to the issuance process.

Today, the tools enabling issuers to move away from the outdated two-step process into one, inline smart card personalization process are readily available. In an inline personalization process, users submit a card into a desktop printer equipped with an internal smart card encoder, and in one seamless step the printer/encoder personalizes the card inside and out. This inline process saves time so issuers can focus on other tasks, increase card throughput and effectively reduce errors that commonly occur during the synchronization process.

Nearly all major card printer manufacturers offer the option to build card readers/encoders into the machines, and offer card issuance software that is compatible with the integrated system. If an organization already owns a card printer, it can usually be upgraded with an encoder in the field.

By integrating readers/encoders into card printer hardware, organizations position themselves to leverage the benefits of smart card applications well into the future. And when they’re ready to maximize their smart cards’ functionality, they’ll already have the smart issuance part of the equation figured out.

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What do employee IDs say about your company?

They send a message that you care about the security of your people, buildings and assets. It also ensures a uniform marketing message with your company logo and/or tag line. Ultimately, there is a positive return on investment that such a photo ID system provides your organization. Some other functions include:

  • Opening closing doors via a Prox or iClass tech card. HID also offers an HID on the Desktop to utilize your tech card + PIN to log into Windows.
  • Clocking in/out is another option using a bar code, mag stripe or access control system already installed in your building.
  • Visitor safety and security with visitor IDs, either personalized with name/photo or generic, depending on your needs and each visitor.
  • Marketing/messaging can also be supported by a uniform visual security tool that includes your company logo and/or tag line.

For more information on options and benefits, please call ASAP Identification Security at 317-488-1030 or email us.

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