Document 178427

How to Make Better, More
Secure ID Cards
What You'll Learn in this eBook
• 5 security features you can use today to
improve the security and reliability of your ID
• How the various security features can be used
to expand the ways you use ID cards
Secure ID Cards
Security is a top priority in every organization. Whether you’re a small business, school,
university,, or large enterprise, protecting your assets and keeping individuals safe is
essential in all organizations. Issuing ID cards to employees, students, and clients is the
most practical solution – but what makes an ID secure?
Simple vs. Secure
If you open your wallet or purse right now
now, you will most likely find several examples of
plastic ID cards. The cards may range from a simple printed card from your local
grocery store with nothing more than a basic image and barcode
barcode, to an official
government issued driver’s license with full color photos, encoded information
protective holograms!
In both of these cases, the ID is meant to accurately identify a person. However, one
source is relatively easy to replicate while the other contains many layers of security,
which reduces counterfeit and forgery attempts. Adding features like photos, magnetic
stripes, or smart card chips to an ID helps to improve its security and decreases
decrease the
likelihood of misuse by unauthorized individuals. These additional layers ensure that the
ID is legitimate and the person using it is the person who should be using it.
it | 1.800.351.9962
Getting More Out of Your ID Cards
Aside from simple identification, a secure and reliable ID can also be used for a variety
of access and tracking applications:
Building Access Control
Time and Attendance Tracking
Out Processes (files, books, equipment, etc…)
Membership Management
isitor/Lobby tracking
A few simple modifications to your cards and printer will significantly improve security
and enable you to get more from your ID cards!
Adding a picture to an existing ID card
provides an easy avenue to add an extra
layer of security. A photo prov
provides a quick
means to confirm a person’s identify and
authenticate the user.. With a photo
prevalent on a card, forgery and fraud
activities are greatly reduced. One quick
look can identify a potential issue and
indicate misuse of the card.
Photos are the most basic and common security feature you can put on an ID card.
They certainly help reduce the possibility of fraudulent card use
use, but are unfortunately
not full proof. With the right equipment
equipment, it’s
s not difficult to create a photo ID and replicate
the text information. | 1.800.351.9962
On their own, photos don’t provide a completely secure ID. However, when they are
used together with some of the other security options
options, you’ll have a combination
that is
difficult to forge or manipulate. The more security options you add to the ID, the harder it
is to replicate.
FEATURE: Barcodes
Barcodes have been a standard tool in
the identification industry for the past
thirty years. In a limited amount of space
they can encode a string of text that is
only readable by a scanner. With over two
dozen types of barcode symbologies,
which vary based on need of the user,
there is a barcode that will fit your needs
In the context of an ID, barcodes
codes are an easy way to have an account or user ID
number printed on the card. The advantage of the barcode is that you can quickly scan
the code to identify the user. With the scanner you avoid input errors, increase
accuracy, and speed up the verificat
verification/check-in process.
From a security standpoint, a barcode is another option that makes forging cards more
difficult. You may be able to make a card that looks the same but if you don’t know what
is supposed to be in the barcode
barcode, it will not scan properly. With a forged ID, a simple
scan of the barcode will alert you of conflicting information with the information
contained on the card.
Like photos, barcodes require very little change to your printing process. Printing a
barcode is the same as printing te
text. They are both just types of fonts!
Barcodes are a simple, yet effective way to add another level of security to your ID
cards. | 1.800.351.9962
FEATURE: Holograms
e all seen holograms on a variety of
cards, but your driver’s license is the
most common one you use on an
everyday basis. Holograms are a great
way to make a very unique ID that is
easy to visually validate and difficult to
forge. With a quick glance, you can tell
right away if an ID is legitimate or a fake.
Embedding a hologram onto an ID card is part of the printing process.. However, the
holograms are not actually printed onto the card. The hologram is contained on special
clear overlay laminate that already contains the fixed hologram pattern. Once the card is
printed, the laminate is applied to the card which adds the hologram without obstructing
your printed information.
Since the hologram is already in the laminate you use, all you have to do is choose one
that fits your application. Hologram laminates are available with a host of text and image
options and can even be custom made for greater uniqueness.
Like photos and barcodes, holograms are an easy feature to add to your current cards
to make them even more difficult to copy. | 1.800.351.9962
FEATURE: Magnetic Stripes
If you’ve ever looked at the back of a
credit or debit card, you’ve seen a
magnetic stripe (magstripe). The thin
black bar on your card contains
information about your account and
identity. Similar to audio tape, a magstripe
modifies the magnetism of the band to
encode information. Normally, this
information is a unique user ID for quick
identification with a simple swipe.
Magstripes were created specifically as a security measure and have been on ID cards
since they were first designed in the 1960’s.
60’s. Like barcodes, magstripes are a great way
to store information that can only be read by a dedicated reader. Forging a magstripe
card is even more difficult though since your printer has to have a magnetic encoder as
opposed to just basic printing. Pl
us, with a scannable magstripe you can easily use your
ID cards for access control and attendance tracking. Although magstripes add a layer
of security, there
here are a few limi
limitations to the technology.
Magstripes can be erased or damaged when they come in contact with magnets.
Luckily there are 2 types of magstripe cards you can use – high coercivity (Hi-Co) and
low coercivity (Lo-Co). A Hi--Co
Co card is meant for permanent applications since the
stripe has a strong magnetic hold and will not erase easily. Lo
Co cards are only suited
for applications where you would re
use the card to encode new information on it
multiple times.
Magstripes may be one of the oldest security options but continue to be used for their
reliability and simplicity. | 1.800.351.9962
FEATURE: Smart Cards
Smart cards are the current pinnacle of
card security. Similar to barcodes and
magnetic stripes, they provide another
means to store data onto the card itself.
The big advantage of the smart card is
that it can store multiple strings of
information including encrypted
certificates. A smartcard provides multiple
levels of verification on the card itself for
the greatest security possible.
What makes a card smart?
Each card has a small microprocessor and memory on it which can provide
identification, authentication, and data storage. All this information can be encrypted so
that without the appropriate reader and software
software, you cannot actually read the card.
With other technologies that store information on the card itself
itself, you have no way to
protect the data from ever being read like you do with smart cards.
Smart cards come in two main types: contact and contactless. With a contact based
card, you have to actually touch/insert the card into the reader to scan the information
on the card. Contactless cards are powered and read wirelessly by just presenting the
card in front of a reader. The read distance may be as limited as an inch,, but this does
help speed up the scanning process and is most commonly used in security access
Whether you need to secure access to your building, PC, or even online accounts, the
added verification and encryption capabilities of a smart card ensures that only those
who are supposed to access your information or property actually can do so.
so | 1.800.351.9962
Making Secure ID Cards
While the security options covered here may seem challenging to get started with, in
reality they are quite easy to implement
implement. A couple of changes in your media, design
software, or printer configuration are all it takes!
With any of these features, your printer has to support the technology you want to use.
Magstripes and smart cards require a printer that has an encoder for these
technologies and blank cards that contain a magstripe
stripe or smart chip. Luckily, many
printers already have these encoders or can be upgraded to have them.
The options that are part of the printing process – photos and barcodes – just require an
update in your design software and a full color ribbon. These are the simplest options to
add since even the base configuration of a printer has the ability to print these layers of
Holograms are the one special case since your printer will h
ave to support laminating.
As long as your printer has a laminate option available
available, a hologram laminate can be
added to your printing operation. The beauty of holograms is that you don’t have to
change any of your card designs to add them!
Better, More Secure ID Cards
The very reason an organization uses ID cards in the first place is to have an accurate
way to identify someone. By designing cards with the right set of security options,
options you
can be sure that the ID is effective and reliable.
To get the most out of your ID cards
cards, you’ll need to start with cards you can count on.
Combining several of the covered security options is your best route for the most secure
IDs possible. With a few simple changes to your current printing process,
process you can be
ng better, more secure cards in no time. | 1.800.351.9962
About BarcodesInc
arcodesInc is North America's leading provider of data tracking products and solutions,
including barcoding, printing, mobile computing, and RFID
RFID. Since 1994, we’ve delivered
thousands of solutions across industries and across businesses large and small.
At BarcodesInc, data tracking is our expertise and customer service is our passion.
Visit us at or speak to a product expert at 1.800.351.9962 | 1.800.351.9962