Welcome to the first installment in our series on Levels of Security! In this series we will be investigating how different ID solutions fit different security needs. As we advise clients on the appropriate badge solution for their organizations, we find that ID badging needs fall into one of five levels of security. We’ve categorized these by the appropriate solutions: printed PVC cards, barcode & magnetic stripe cards, proximity devices, contact and contactless RFID cards, and biometric authentication.
Facilities in need of a minimum security solution may find that a simple ID badge fills their needs. This solution is relatively easy to implement at low cost. Within this category, two distinct levels of security can be achieved: a non-photo card and a photo ID badge.
The non-photo card offers the lowest level of security, but is still helpful for facilities that need a quick method to identify a holder’s credentials. These cards can offer an organization’s seal or logo, card-holder’s name and/or title or position, or simply be color coded. For example, a school or assisted living facility may issue a pink card to its volunteers and blue cards to staff that quickly allow staff, students, parents or residents to identify an authorized individual.
The photo ID badge can include any of the above elements, but then adds an additional security layer: a photo of the cardholder. This provides an additional confirmation that the person carrying a card is the person to whom it was issued. Photo IDs are commonly used for students, teachers, healthcare professionals, and employees at a variety of businesses & government entities.
Both of these entry-level ID solutions help the wearers and their organization project a professional appearance, and give confidence to those they interact with. And they help organizations meet minimal levels of security required by regulators and outside agencies that are prevalent, for example, in the healthcare field.
The limitation of both of these simple ID solutions is that the identity of the cardholder must be confirmed by another person, rather than any automated system of access control. For many organizations, however, they provide a cost-effective solution to their most basic needs.
Whether including a photo on an ID or not, the costs are similar, and can be kept very low. For small organizations, or for those who do not want to design, maintain and issue cards themselves, our service bureau is able to offer professional design and printing of cards on demand, and for small relative fees. Customers who print larger quantities of cards or who would like to be able to issue cards in-house and immediately will find that an investment in a printer and supplies is beneficial.
Basic ID cards are an excellent solution for organizations that do not operate in access-controlled facilities. Both photo and non-photo ID cards provide a means by which customers or patrons can recognize the authority of the person wearing the card, and can provide a sense of visual cohesion in any work, school, or healthcare environment.