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.
- Benefits: low cost, professional and easy entry-level ID solution
- 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.