Category Archives: Blog

cardPresso Software Update Now Available

cardPresso Software Update 1.4.159

A new cardPresso software update has been released as a free upgrade to licensed users of the product. Version 1.4.159 of the popular ID-card design and printing software is available for download directly from the cardPresso website.

cardPresso software update for all 5 editions

This cardPresso software update:

  • improves the user interface,
  • improves database functionality, and
  • adds support for new printer and camera models.

GUI Improvements

To provide a better user experience, cardPresso has enhanced the graphical user interface. For example, the behavior of date fields has been improved. When adding or editing data records, users may pre-populate the field with the current date. This option is perfect for including the issuance or printing date in your card designs. Another option allows users to choose a date with a pop-up calendar (“date picker”) or to manually enter it.

Database Support Improvements

This cardPresso software update also implements greater database functionality in its XM, XL, & XXL editions. Users can now filter database records to customize operations and workflows. Additionally, when using the native MS Access File Driver, users can link directly to Access ACCDB files. This cardPresso database “live-link” feature allows users edit data only once and immediately see these changes reflected in the selected database.

Additional Hardware Support

This new software release also includes enhanced support for the IDP Smart50 card printer and for recent Canon EOS model cameras. Users with Canon EOS cameras compatible with Canon SDK v.3.5 or later benefit from in-program advanced camera controls. These are accessible when using cardPresso’s live-capture mode. These improved integration features result in an overall better user experience.

As a reminder, all cardPresso editions support USB-attached webcams and digital cameras that have compliant Directshow, WIA/TWAIN, and/or UVC drivers. For example, our popular HD Image Cam Pro remains fully compatible with all cardPresso editions.

The Bottom Line

In summary, this cardPresso software update makes cardPresso easier to use and offers more ways to connect with your information and hardware. This free update will help streamline your badge making process.

The Safe-Card ID Service Promise

Safe-Card ID is proud to offer free telephone-based support for our clients. Our experts are happy to help clients with any update issues, or to answer any questions about the information above! You can reach us toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada), or +1 704-535-5200 from other locations.

Asure ID Software Trial Download

Asure ID 7, the current version of HID Global’s industry-leading ID badge design software, is available for a free 30-day trial. In order to access the Asure ID trial, click here and visit the product download page. Asure ID 7 Cover

Asure ID Trial Available in All Four Editions*

HID Global’s ID badge design and printing software provides card issuers with a clean, easy-to-navigate interface, and a complete package of custom card printing options. Because there are 4 available editions, it is easy to find an option to satisfy nearly any type or size organization:

  • Solo Edition* – Simple, entry-level card design software for organizations requiring production for up to 200 database records;
  • Express Edition* – Powerful, stand-alone card design software optimized for single-user environments with virtually limitless data records;
  • Enterprise Edition* – Card design software for multiple workstations that share a common database;
  • Exchange Edition* – Support for more sophisticated secure credential applications, providing advanced smart card functionality and laser engraving.

*Note: Some features of these editions, including advanced database connections and card encoding are not enabled in the Asure ID trial edition. Despite this restriction, you may find the trial useful for familiarizing your users with the software. However, to determine if the software fits your needs, please call one of our experts at +1 704.535.5200.

Regardless of the edition selected, you will find Asure ID is easy to learn and full of features. It provides a wide range of capabilities in card issuance and card management for small and large organizations alike. If you’re unsure whether this software fits your needs, use the 30-day Asure ID trial to test it out.

Need More Info?

For purchasing information, please check out our Asure ID information page, or the Safe-Card ID webstore. Furthermore, we are happy to address your specific questions about ID-card software or ID-card printer systems! Simply contact our staff of ID experts toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada), or +1 704.535.5200 elsewhere.

New Firmware from Evolis

As part of its continuous improvement policy, Evolis has recently released new firmware for their printer line. Keeping your firmware up-to-date helps ensure that your printer works at peak performance. Often clients with out of date firmware will have trouble with their printer recognizing new ribbons or interacting with their computers. By keeping your firmware current, you can avoid many of these difficulties.

To update your firmware, please visit the Drivers & Support page on the Evolis website. Once there, simply select your printer model and scroll to the firmware downloads section. New firmware is available for the Evolis Primacy (all models), Evolis Zenius, Evolis Avansia, and Evolis Badgy 100 and 200 printers.

Tales from the Intake Department: Fargo Uptrade Edition

The Fargo UpTrade Program: Credit for Any Printer

We recently received a trade-in printer after one of our clients took advantage of the excellent Fargo UpTrade program. One of the best features of this program is that you can receive a credit for a printer in ANY condition. In this particular case, that included evidence that rats had been inside the printer (at SCID, we’re pretty grateful that rat poop is rarely part of our job description). Luckily for our client, this doesn’t even affect the credit they receive for trading in their old printer.

Fargo UpTrade Program

If you’re looking sideways at your old printer right now, you aren’t alone. Let us help you replace it and get some money back for your current printer, regardless of condition. Generally, however, we recommend keeping your systems rodent-free; they tend to last longer. 😉

The Safe-Card ID Service Promise

Another benefit of using the Fargo UpTrade program through us? Safe-Card ID is proud to offer free telephone-based support for our clients. Our experts are happy to help clients with any update issues, or to answer any questions about the information above! For more information and help determining what new printer best suits your needs contact one of our experts at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada), or +1 704-535-5200 from other locations. You may also browse our online printer catalog.

Levels of Security: 5, Biometric Authentication

Welcome to the fifth, and final, installment in our series on Levels of Security! In this series we are investigating how different ID solutions fit different security needs. As we advise organizations on appropriate badge solutions, we find their 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 access devices, contact and contactless RFID cards, and biometric authentication.

biometric authentication is the highest level of access control securityBiometric authentication uses a reader to scan and verify identity using a unique physical attribute. The most common are fingerprints, palm prints, facial scans, and iris scans. New technologies include scans of the shape of the skull and of the interior of the ear canal.

For access control, these methods of authentication are most often used with another method, playing on the security adage that the most secure “key” is “something you have, something you know, and something you are”.  An ID card (of any level) or key serve the purpose of being an exclusive item one has. Biometric markers, which are unique to the person seeking entry, is something they are. Often keypads or password encryption serve as “something you know”. Verifying identity through biometrics prevents security breaches based on theft of cards or other access devices or recreation of credentials using stolen data, as the person who uses the device is as important as the device itself.

Companies also use biometrics to help protect data and to provide appropriate access. Many devices use fingerprints instead of passwords as an unchanging piece of data that restricts access to the appropriate user. This technology provides the option for targeted, instead of widespread, use of biometric authentication. Some programs require the input of a password and verification of a user’s biometric data before allowing access to secure information. This solution can provide an incremental security increase, rather than outfitting an entire facility for biometric scanning.

Certain industries have also begun using biometric scans to store user data: hospitals such as Carolinas Medical Centers use palm scans to ensure that medical records are accurate and secure. Many school systems have begun using thumbprint scanners to link student lunch accounts. This replaces a card (which students often lose) or code (which students sometimes forget and slows down the lunch line).

Concerns about Biometric Authentication

The use of biometrics is still controversial. Many people worry about someone stealing or hacking into this secure information, extending the privacy problems that plague technology companies. Companies address this concern in multiple ways. Many do not store biometric information. Instead, they use a computer algorithm to create a unique identifying number derived from the biometric scan. This number is then associated with the user. Others keep the biometric information stored on a device rather than in a database. Banks that use biometric authentication in mobile apps store the user’s information on the device rather than in a database. The same can be done with smart cards. The chip in a contact or contactless smart card has enough storage space to store the data required to verify the cardholder’s identity, which eliminates the need to keep information in a centrally controlled (and thus target-rich) access control database.

Thank you for following along with our series on access control security. As always, feel free to contact one of our experts for more information at +1 704.535.5200.

Levels of Security: 4, Contact and Contactless Smart Cards

Welcome to the fourth installment in our series on Levels of Security! In this series we are investigating how different ID solutions fit different security needs. As we advise organizations on appropriate badge solutions, we find their 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 access devices, contact and contactless RFID or smart cards, and biometric authentication.

Contactless Smart Cards

Contact and contactless smart cards are the second highest level of authenticationContactless smart cards use high-frequency radio frequency identification, or RFID, and afford stepped-up security (vs. standard proximity cards) by employing a memory chip that can store more information. These larger capacity chips allow users to store and encrypt more data than before, making it more secure. While typical applications use readers limited to 1 foot or less, the technology can read card data from as far as 30 feet. Like standard proximity devices, RFID credentials do not need a direct “line of sight” from the reader. As a result, readers can access these devices through clothing, and even packaging (such as in a box, pocket, wallet or purse).

A few examples of common applications for contactless RFID devices include:

  • use of RFID-enabled ID cards or fobs for access-control through secured doors or vehicle access to controlled parking areas;
  • storage of computer-network access credentials and authorization levels;
  • access to pharmaceutical cabinets and dispensaries;
  • medical and healthcare applications vary from tracking inventory and patients, to confirming correct medication dispensing, and out-of-bed/fall detection;
  • tracking of retail goods for stock/inventory control, and anti-theft systems;
  • contact-less payment systems, linked to your credit-card or bank-account (i.e. – Apple Pay(TM) )

If you are considering use of RFID credentials, be aware that there are privacy concerns regarding their data storage. Because these devices are compatible with long-range scanners, they are susceptible to reading without the holder’s knowledge. This opens the door (pardon the pun!) for duplication and for skimming of information that should remain private. As a result, some users wrap their cards in aluminum foil or use RFID blocking wallets to prevent unauthorized reading.

Contact Smart Cards

Contact-type smart cards carry a chip with exposed contacts, which a user must insert into a reader for data to be read or retrieved from the memory chip. This type of card is slightly more secure in that it prevents skimming in the manner described above. Access control applications can use these devices, but they are still more common in payment application. In fact, if you live in the United States and have bank-issued credit- or ATM-cards, you most likely now have a card of this type today, as all US institutions were required to adopt these more-secure cards within the past year.

Check back soon for our next post in the series, regarding the highest level of access control security: biometric authentication.

Levels of Security Series: 3, Proximity Access Devices

Welcome to the third 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 organizations on appropriate badge solutions, we find their 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 access devices, contact and contactless RFID cards, and biometric authentication.

Proximity Access Devices are a mid-level security measureClients whose facilities need a moderate degree of security may find their best solution in proximity access devices. Organizations issue these devices, which take the form of cards, key-fobs, or stick-on (adhesive) disks, to individual users. Each device includes a tiny computer chip that houses a small amount of data custom-programmed for a facility. These credentials allow an installed access control system to determine if the device holder has the required permission to access a facility.

Prior to the introduction of access-control systems, organizations would provide key copies to their employees, or have full-time receptionists, or employee security guards as ways to manage access.

Benefits of Using Proximity Access Devices

  • Unlike keys, access control systems can operate on schedules. For example, a key-card or fob can allow access to buildings only Monday thru Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Other devices and individuals can have their own unique schedules.
  • Also unlike keys, with proximity access devices, you can immediately and remotely “turn off” or modify access areas and times. This means that if an organization needs to change an individual’s access, it can do so quickly, without affecting any other device holder. This includes restricting access to certain facilities or to certain days or times. In the “old days”, if  an employee’s access need to be changed, locks were changed and new keys issued. As you can imagine, this was a considerable expense!
  • If the proximity access device is a printable ISO card, it can double as the employee’s photo ID. This provides both a visual identity check and a physical access-control check, further enhancing security.
  • Proximity access device readers can work with optional modules, such as numeric key-pads, requiring input of a second-form of authentication. Often used on exterior doors, these combinations help to prevent unauthorized entry should someone find a lost credential.

As technology has developed, more secure options have been introduced which can store more data and are more difficult to be scanned and copied. We will explore those options in coming installments. But, for organizations with a need for flexible security controls, while maintaining relatively low or moderate costs, the access-control systems and proximity devices are the perfect solution.

 

Levels of Security Series: 2, Barcode and Magnetic Stripe Cards

Welcome to the second installment in our series on Levels of Security! In this series we are investigating how different ID solutions fit different security needs. As we advise organizations on appropriate badge solutions, we find their needs fall into one of five levels of security. We’ve categorized these by the appropriate solutions: printed PVC cards, barcode and magnetic stripe cards, proximity devices, contact and contactless RFID cards, and biometric authentication.

Barcode and Magnetic Stripe Cards are an easy way to add security elements to your IDsFacilities in need of a low-moderate security solution may find that ID cards printed with a bar-code, or with an encoded magnetic stripe, fill their needs. Like the previous level’s solution, these options are still relatively easy to implement and low cost. Facilities that do not require this level of security should refer to the first post in this series: Printed PVC Cards.

Often our clients can meet other needs by making enhancements to their regular ID cards. Some commonly available technologies allow for many uses of these enhanced cards.

  • Restaurants and factories, for example, often use time-clock applications. Employees clock in and out by “swiping” card through a reader connected to the payroll system.
  • Many schools, colleges and universities have moved to a “one-card” system. This system allows students to obtain meals in cafeterias, access a library, or make purchases by presenting an authorized card.
  • Medical service providers’ EHR (electronic health-record) systems often require dual-factor authentication to log in. By equipping system computers with readers for barcode and magnetic stripe cards and appropriate access control software, the employee’s ID card can double as the required second-factor authority.

Barcode Cards

The barcode category includes traditional “1D” bar-codes, “2D” bar-codes, or QR codes. These codes created by selecting a font that transforms an alphanumeric code into a lined or pixelated image. These images are printed onto the card and can be scanned by specialized readers or by smartphone applications. This solution requires a database of some kind that associates the unique graphical code with the pertinent information. A significant limitation here is that barcodes can be photocopied. This can result in unauthorized access if secondary security measures are not put in place.

Magnetic Stripe Cards

Magnetic Stripe CardsThe magnetic stripe card can store a very limited amount of information, such as an account, employee, or student ID number, dollar amount (or other financial balance), & other encoded information. These early versions of modern smart cards are less secure than newer options due to technological advances. The technology used in them makes these a slightly higher-cost option than “plain” PVC cards. In addition, they require specialized readers and a computer program to interpret and act on the stored data.

Customers who print larger quantities of cards or who would like to be able to issue cards immediately may find that an investment in a printer and supplies is beneficial. For small organizations or those who do not want to maintain cards themselves, our service bureau is able to print cards on demand for a reasonable fee.

Barcode and magnetic stripe cards are excellent solutions for organizations with modest functional needs and low to moderate security requirements. Both options provide a way for customers or patrons to recognize the authority of the person wearing the card. And all ID badge solutions add the benefit of a sense of visual cohesion in any work, school, or healthcare environment.

Levels of Security Series: 1, Printed PVC Cards

Printed PVC Cards are the first measure many business take in ID security.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 organizations on appropriate badge solutions, we find their 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. This category contains two distinct levels of security: a non-photo card and a photo ID badge.

Non-Photo Printed PVC Cards

The non-photo card offers the lowest level of security, but still provides 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 feature color coding. For example, a school or assisted living facility may issue a pink card to volunteers and blue cards to staff. This quickly allows staff, students, parents or residents to identify an authorized individual.

Photo IDs on Printed PVC Cards

Example of a Printed PVC CardThe 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 organizations project a professional appearance, giving confidence to clients. They help organizations meet minimal security guidelines required by regulators that are prevalent, for example, in the healthcare field.

The limitation of these simple ID solutions is that a person must confirm the identity of the cardholder, rather than an automated system of access control. For many organizations, however, they provide a cost-effective solution to their most basic needs.

Printed PVC Cards: A Low-Cost Solution

Whether the design includes a photo on an ID or not, printed PVC cards have similar, relatively low costs. 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. Either option for printed PVC cards provides a means by which clients or patrons can recognize the authority of the wearer, and can provide a sense of visual cohesion in any work, school, or healthcare environment.

The 4 Items Your Business Needs to Get Started with Printed Cards

Printed PVC ID-cards are a great business asset in many industries. Identification cards add security or a professional touch to your business. These cards can be as simple as a name tag, or they can include complex security features such as holograms or smart chips. Gift or loyalty cards help to create and maintain brand recognition for customers. No matter what your goal is for your cards, you need to start with 4 basic supplies:

zxp-quikcard-bundle-medium__45323_zoom

Zebra ZXP Series 3 QuikCard Bundle

  1. Plastic-card printer. Available from multiple manufacturers, these specialized printers come in a variety of configurations, and are designed to meet most any need, from a few cards a month to hundreds of cards a day.
  2. Print Ribbon. Ribbons layer colors over a blank card to create the image and text you have designed. They come in a variety of monochrome colors, or full-color options.
  3. Blank Cards. PVC cards are available in myriad colors and security options including smart chip, magnetic stripe, or thin adhesive-backed stickers that can be applied to thick, non-printable proximity cards.
  4. Card Design & Printing Software. There are multiple brands of of software available from many developers, and that are specifically designed to simplify the design and production of printed PVC cards. Basic software versions all support creation and printing of photo-ID cards, whether single- or dual-sided, and features like simple bar-codes. The more advanced software versions support multi-user environments and shared databases, live-links to existing databases, and even the direct encoding of proximity access cards and RFID smart cards.

There are combinations of these four items to meet every budget and need, and is an investment that can pay off dividends for one’s business.

At Safe-Card ID Services we strive to help our customers find solution to address their expressed requirements. We offer many pre-configured bundles that include all of the above items in well-matched combinations. Our experts also specialize in creating custom bundles to meet the specific needs of our clients. For those with smaller scale needs or who do not want to invest in a printer system, our service bureau offers custom cards printed to order.

Let us answer your questions about getting started in card printing. Our experts are always available for a free consultation toll-free at +1 888.485.4696 (US & Canada). We look forward to hearing from you!