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 clients on the appropriate badge solution for their organizations, we’ve found that badging needs will generally 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.

LevelsofSecurity5Biometric 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 are being introduced that include scans of the shape of the skull and of the interior of the ear canal.

For access control, these methods of identity authentication are most often used in addition to another method, playing on the security adage that the most secure method 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 cards or other access devices from being either stolen or skimmed and recreated using stolen data, as the person who uses the device is just as important as the device itself.

Biometrics are also used on their own to help protect data and to provide appropriate access. Many mobile devices and laptops now use thumbprints instead of passwords as a more secure and unchanging piece of data that only allows 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, replacing the need for a card (which students are prone to lose) or a code (which students sometimes forget and takes a longer time to enter into the lunch line keypad).

The use of biometrics is still controversial, as many people worry about this secure information being stolen or hacked into, creating another version of the privacy problems that have begun to plague technology companies. Companies address this concern in multiple ways. Many do not store biometric information, rather using a computer algorithm to create a unique identifying number based on the biometric scan, which is then associated with the user. Others keep the biometric information stored on a device rather than in a database–banks that have begun using biometric authentication in mobile apps store the user’s information on the device itself rather than in a bank database of users. 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 prevents their information from being stored 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 clients on the appropriate badge solution for their organizations, we’ve found that badging needs will generally 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.

LevelsofSecurity4Contactless 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. Using a larger capacity chip gives users the ability to store more data and encrypt that data, making it much more difficult to compromise. The technologies employed allow the chip data to be read from up to 30-feet, though typical implementations will use readers that are limited to 1-foot, or less. Like standard proximity devices, RFID credentials do not need to be in a direct “line of sight” from the reader. As a result, these devices can be read through clothing, and even packaging (such as in a box, pocket, wallet or purse).

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 the tracking of inventory and patients, to confirming correct medication for patients and out-of-bed and 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 data stored on such devices. Because these devices can be scanned from an extended range, they can be read without the holder’s knowledge. This opens the door (pardon the pun!) for duplication and for skimming of information that is intended to remain private. Some holders of RFID technology choose to wrap their cards in aluminum foil or use RFID blocking wallets to prevent reading until use.

Contact-type smart cards carry a chip with exposed contacts, which must be inserted into a reader for any data to be read or retrieved from the memory chip. These are slightly more secure in that the cards cannot be skimmed in the manner described above. These devices can be used for access control applications, but are currently used more frequently for payment applications. 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. For our European friends, you know you’ve been using these cards for years.

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

Levels of Security Series: 3, Proximity 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 clients on the appropriate badge solution for their organizations, we’ve found that badging needs fall into 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 bio-metric authentication.

LevelsofSecurity3Clients whose facilities need a moderate degree of security may find their best solution in proximity access devices. These items are available as cards, key-fobs, or stick-on (adhesive) disks, which are then issued to individual users. Each device includes a tiny computer-chip that houses a small amount of data that is 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. The benefits of using proximity devices are many:

  • Unlike keys, access control systems can operate on schedules. For example, a given key-card or fob can be coded to 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 devices, you can immediately and remotely “turn off” or modify access areas and times. This means that an individual who should no longer have access to one or more controlled entryways, or on certain days or times, can have that change affected quickly, and without affecting any other device holder. In the “old days”, if you lost an employee, or if an employee lost a copy of a building key, the locks were changed and new keys were issued – at considerable expense!
  • If the proximity access device is in card form, it can double as the employee’s photo ID  using any of our ID-card printing solutions. Doing so provides both a visual identity check, and a physical access-control check, further enhancing facility and organizational security.
  • Proximity access device readers can be augmented with optional modules, such as numeric key-pads, requiring input of a second-form of authentication. These are often used on exterior doors 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, Barcodes 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 clients on the appropriate badge solutions for their organizations, we find that ID card and badging needs fall into five levels of security. We’ve categorized these by the appropriate solutions: printed PVC cards, bar-code & magnetic stripe cards, proximity devices, contact and contactless RFID cards, and biometric authentication.

LevelsofSecurity2Facilities 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 may want to refer to the first post in this series: Printed PVC Cards.

Often our clients have other needs that can be met by making enhancements to their regular ID cards, availing themselves of some basic technologies that are commonly in use and available:

  • Restaurants and factories, for example, often use time-clock applications, where employees clock-in and clock-out by “swiping” a mag-stripe or bar-code through a specialized reader, that is connected to their payroll system.
  • Schools, colleges and universities often allow students to obtain meals in on-site facilities, access a library, or make modest purchases from a book store by presenting or swiping an authorized card.
  • Medical service providers’ EHR (electronic health-record) systems often require dual-factor authentication to log in, so equipping the applications’ host PC’s with a bar-code or mag-stripe reader and appropriate access control software, the employee’s ID card can also double as the required second-factor authority.

The bar-code category includes traditional “1D” bar-codes, “2D” bar-codes, or QR codes. These codes are applied to cards by selecting a font that transforms a numeric or alphanumeric code into a lined or pixelated image. These images can be scanned by specialized readers or by smartphone applications that can call up the associated information from a database or business application. This solution requires a database of some kind that associates the unique graphical code with the pertinent information. A significant limitation of this solution is that these codes can be photocopied, resulting in a unauthorized access if secondary security measures are not put in place.

Magnetic Card #2The 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 cards were an early version of modern smart cards, but the age of the technology has also made it less secure than other currently available options. These cards involve technology that make them a slightly higher cost option than “plain” PVC cards, and also require additional expenditures for mag-stripe or bar-code readers and, of course, a compute program to interpret and act on the stored data.

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 small fee. 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.

Adding bar-codes or mag-stripes to ID badges can be an excellent solution for organizations with modest incremental functional needs, and have only low to moderate security requirements. Both 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.

Levels of Security Series: 1, Printed PVC Cards

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 LevelsofSecurity1in 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.

CPClKNfWgAAqdNqThe 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.

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!