ID Card Issuance Systems – The First Line of Defense For Your Organization

New York City, September 11th, 2001; Madrid, Spain, March 11th, 2004; Ft. Hood, Texas, November 5th, 2009 – all days that will remain in the collective thoughts of security personnel as long as they are on duty. The Western world is in a security crisis unlike any seen before. There are people out there who are dedicated to disrupting or destroying our very way of life. Have you taken all the necessary precautions to deter them? If you are in the Security or Human Resources fields, you have undoubtedly asked yourself this question regarding the status of your organization’s preparedness.

If this question has been asked by you or your superiors, chances are your physical and logical security systems have been tested, evaluated, and maybe even improved. But what about the first line of defense, your organization’s ID Card?

Many security professionals overlook this small but vital detail, yet a properly issued and administered ID card program is the very first deterrent an organization can provide to dissuade any would-be attacker. How effective is your ID Card system in maintaining current personnel records, promoting an adequate level of security for your organization, or providing anti-counterfeit measures aimed at increased levels of physical security?

Contrary to popular opinion, ID Card systems are a lot more than expensive software, printers, and supplies used to keep students in check or employees from wandering into sensitive areas of your business. They can be designed to fit and incorporate virtually any security or HR need you may have now or in the future. Recently, with the merging of the ID and physical access control worlds, smart cards have become more prevalent and carry more and more electronic data about the individual for whom the card was issued. But, who is keeping all of that back-end data in check? A card that holds an employee ID number, account balance, or biometric fingerprint data for physical access is one thing, but what happens when that person is terminated? Will that data flow properly to alert each auxiliary system of that person’s status or will they continue to have access to sensitive areas within your organization?

Organizations large and small are increasingly looking toward third party software to play a larger role in not only badge issuance, but also the handling of critical data on the back-end. One common misconception is that a prepackaged, turnkey solution can properly interact with a company’s HR or even vending systems right out of the box. Often, these “plug-and-play” interfaces end up costing twice as much as originally quoted, while delivering less than promised.

As you’re evaluating your organization’s requirements in terms of badge issuance, be sure to not overlook the level of overt security needed for your cards. The days of the old Polaroid cut-and-paste laminated cards are long gone. We are well over a decade into the new world of digital ID systems and over time, prices for these systems have decreased.

While price reductions are a good thing for anyone’s bottom line, they can also pose risks. Just as your costs for a new ID card system have decreased, so too has the cost for individuals wanting to gain access to your facility fraudulently. With a simple web search, anyone with a motive and a credit card can have a complete system overnighted to his door and have a knock-off card to your organization in his hands. One way to combat this risk is to customize your cardstock with anti-counterfeit measures for higher security level badges.

By adding micro text, color shifting ink, or custom holographic inlays to your organization’s ID card stock or over-laminate, you immediately create a customized solution that is difficult, if not impossible, to counterfeit. Some of these solutions require security personnel to carry an authentication device, such as a printer’s loop, UV light, etc., which can sometimes be time consuming or unrealistic. Others require nothing more than the human eye and an inside knowledge of exactly what to look for. By strategically placing a custom embedded holographic foil inside the card’s substrate or on an overlaminating film, you can create a feature that’s easy for your security personnel to spot – once they’re trained to look for it.

Unlike the generic holographic foil cards available to anyone on the market, your customized stock belongs only to you. As long as you keep your supplies secure, no counterfeiting can occur. There are drawbacks to a customized approach – the main one being population. Due to the costs associated with this type of technology, it generally doesn’t lend itself to organizations with less than 5,000 card carriers. However, if you have a relationship with a qualified dealer, a solution that fits your needs should be met. Memphis-based LSI has assisted many organizations in the creation and maintenance of their custom embedded holographic ID card systems on both a local and national level. We posses the necessary expertise to assist your organization in achieving similar results.

Taking a little time to evaluate your organization’s security needs will pay off in the long run, both in terms of equipment investment and, more importantly, in choosing an ID Card dealer. The right dealer can guide you through the vast array of brands, technology and other supplies to find a solution tailored to your needs. Do you really need the latest and greatest printer on the market when a basic unit will suffice? Will your printer require expensive proprietary supplies, or will you have the freedom to price-shop from a variety? Having or building a solid relationship with your ID/Access card provider can help you avoid many pitfalls and keep your budget intact well beyond the installation or upgrade of your new card system.