How to set up photo ID cards in your workplace

 

photo id cards
Photo ID cards improve security & bring a sense of community

Bringing photo ID cards into your organisation can play a significant factor in ensuring the security of your building and the protection of your staff. So how do you go about setting it up?

First, think about what you want to achieve.

Do you want the photo ID cards to just identify the wearer, or do you want them to also act as access control cards (to gain entry to your building) or as smart cards (to pay for their lunch in the canteen for example)?

The answer to this will determine what kind of cards you need, and how much investment/time will be involved. If this is purely an exercise in badging, a plain PVC card will do – which you can choose to print yourself by investing in an ID card printer, or by using a card bureau service. You can buy cards that come with signature strips, or mag stripes that work with simpler loyalty systems for example.

If you want your photo ID cards to work with your existing access control system, speak to your installer about whether your existing cards can be printed on – or indeed whether you need to swop from a token or fob to a card. Most access control cards can be printed on with a specific type of ID card printer.

If you truly want a smart card, you’ll need a card that comes with a chip embedded – for example Mifare cards (think an Oyster card), or one that’s capable of taking on smart card capabilities. Again, these can be printed on – usually by a card bureau.

Then consider how you’ll manage the programme.

Who will be responsible for creating the photo ID cards, managing the records and dealing with the day-to-day administration? Usually this responsibility lies with HR, but if you don’t have your own HR department, give at least two people responsibility. That way, if one person is on holiday when a card is ‘forgotten’ or ‘stolen’, things won’t grind to a halt.

If your photo ID cards are doubling up as access control cards, put robust procedures in place for what happens if a card goes missing. Your access control software will allow you to block or delete a specific card – ensuring it doesn’t allow access to your building if it drops into the wrong hands.

If you’re bringing in a programme for security reasons, make sure you stick to it.

Don’t make it one rule for one, one rule for another. That means senior management need to be onboard too, otherwise it undermines the whole programme. If the primary purpose for bringing in photo ID cards is to improve security, everyone needs to wear a badge.

That means following procedures for ‘forgotten’ badges too. Give out temporary badges to members of staff who have left theirs at home that day.  

Police it.

Giving all staff a Photo ID card for security purposes is only effective if it’s going to be enforced. If you have someone permanently in Reception, give them the responsibility for checking everyone is wearing a photo ID card when they enter the building. Most importantly, they should stop anyone who is not.

In some industries where security is paramount, for example in healthcare or schools, staff should be given permission to challenge anyone not wearing a badge. This secondary level of checking should reveal anyone who made it past reception unnoticed.

Now you need to consider how you’ll create the cards.

There are two ways you can print your photo ID cards: by investing in a plastic card printer and doing it yourself, or by sending the data to a card bureau for them to print them for you.

Keeping your card printing in-house

There is a wide range of card printers available on the market. At the entry-level end, you can pick up the Evolis ‘plug & print’ Badgy for less than £600.

But if you’re printing a large quantity of cards, or you need them to do more clever things (like print volumes of double sided cards with smart card capabilities) then you could be looking at spending more like £1200. Then you’ll need to factor in the running costs, in terms of blank cards, ribbons and cleaning kits.

Keeping your card printing in-house is sensible if you have a regular need to print new photo ID cards, for example for temporary workers, or contractors.

Outsourcing to a card bureau

If you don’t want to shell-out for a card printer, look for a plastic card supplier with a track record in printing photo ID cards. They will take your data and print the cards for you.

But make sure you check their credibility. It isn’t particularly wise to choose a supplier in China you’ve never heard of – even if they are cheap – integrity of data won’t be guaranteed. Ask sensible questions to protect the identities of your employees – how will the supplier store your information? Are their staff CRB checked? We would expect to be asked this type of due diligence.

Some plastic card printers will also take away the hassle of administration from you. Many, like The Card Network, operate a card issuance service, where all photo ID cards are sent with a personalised letter directly to employees.

On a simple level, photo ID cards identify the wearer, and whether they have the right to access the building. They also make it much harder for the cards to be ‘adopted’ by anyone other than the rightful owner, which automatically tightens security. They also bring a sense of community to your workforce, a benefit that can’t be underestimated.

Out with the old…

If you’re about to order your new club cards for the 2014-2015 season, take a minute to really consider what you want them to do before just reprinting last years.

It’s likely they could be generating more value and be performing more functions than they currently do.

 

Club card
Refresh your look: don’t just roll out last season’s design

What would you like your club cards to do?   

By including a range of features, or changing the type of card you use, you can turn them into multi-purpose cards.

If you want to secure access to locker rooms or members-only areas for example, you can easily turn your club cards into ‘swipe to access’ cards.

Or you could turn them into ‘smart cards’, and allow members to use them to ‘swipe’ for their lunch, or access their tab at the bar.

Turning your club cards into loyalty cards encourages more spending from members. You’ll need to think carefully about how you’ll administer a loyalty programme, and how members will accrue and spend ‘points’. Do you want to offer money off purchases made in the club for example, or introduce other retailers to give your members more choice? As well as incorporating the necessary features to turn your club card into a loyalty card, we can also advise on the right loyalty system.

Think about your members. What do they want from a club?

Creating a successful membership programme is about:

–       Showing them you value their membership fee

–       Making them feel welcome when they’re with you

–       Providing them with benefits and perks for being a member

and

–       Giving them more reasons to spend time (and money) at the club

–       Handing them reasons to recommend you to others.

 Get the benefits right

Research your competition to see what they are offering, and better it.

Providing benefits to your members for their fee doesn’t have to cost you much – or indeed anything at all. It’s the feeling of exclusivity that you want to convey. Some perks might include:

–       Free entry to club events

–       Discounted tickets for family members

–       First priority on club tickets

–       Deals with neighbouring retailers, hotels & restaurants just for club members (make these reciprocal so there are no costs involved)

–       Discounts on their own membership fee if they refer-a-friend.

Offering discounts on club food and drink is perceived as a tangible (and very attractive) benefit. You’ll need to weigh up the cost versus the benefit, but it’s likely that it will encourage members who may not normally use the facilities to give them a try. Providing vouchers for members to hand to friends and family is a win-win situation: they feel like they’re getting ‘something for nothing’ whereas you get new customers into the club.

Don’t forget that it’s the simple things that make people feel special. Welcoming a guest by name when they show a membership card is easy to do, and makes a great impression. Especially if they’re with friends.

We offer numbering as standard  

All our club cards are full colour, double sided numbered cards. You can also choose from a range of extra features, such as signature panels or barcodes. Or why not include a QR code to unlock a members-only benefit on your website? 

Refresh, refresh, refresh

Even if you don’t need any new features, or don’t want your club cards to do anything particularly clever, refreshing the design is always a good idea. Don’t use the same design again just because you don’t have someone who can create a new one for you.

Design and artwork is included in all of our quoted prices, so why not ask us to renew the look of the club cards for you.

Our friendly team is happy to advise on the many features of membership cards. Call us on 0844 257 8857 or email sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk

 

 

Beware clones: are your Mifare cards genuine?

Mifare cards are one of the most widely used and best-selling smart cards on the market, most commonly used as contactless cards, e-tickets and readers worldwide. Most transport providers use Mifare cards, as do schools, sports organisations and many other businesses.

Genuine Mifare cards use NXP chips from NXP Semiconductors, a trademarked product that guarantees quality, security and reliability.

Printed mifare cards
Cloned Mifare cards can compromise your security and are illegal

Could your Mifare cards be clones?

Until quite recently, the market has been awash with unauthorised cloned cards from China. These cloned alternatives are much cheaper, but use unstable technology that fails to deliver the performance and security of authentic Mifare cards. They are also illegal and NXP will act against anyone infringing on their trademarks.

What are the problems with cloned cards?

Non-genuine products can cause considerable problems in a contactless system. They are less stable, have a shorter read range and can cause interruptions or disturbances in the service they provide. In short, failure rates are high. Your security may be seriously compromised – a serious message for organisations out there who depend on secure access control, such as schools, hospitals or government buildings.

What can you do to check if your cards are genuine?

If you’re concerned that your Mifare cards may be clones, send one to us for testing, with no obligation.

If you’re dealing with significant numbers of Mifare cards, AdvanIDe has just launched the Mifare Classic clone checker kit, which detects whether the chip contained within your cards is authentic. The kit includes a NXP Semiconductor reader, as well as additional test cards and software. You can find more information on this here

What are NXP doing about the problem?

REACT, the anti-counterfeiting network and NXP recently signed an agreement to stop unauthorised copies of NXP’s Mifare products. Within their first month, they have successfully removed over 4000 auctions that were attempting to sell the clones. NXP will not tolerate any infringement on its rights and will take all necessary action against those who sell or use their trademarks.

At the Card Network we only sell Mifare cards with genuine NXP chips.

New membership cards for January?

If your membership programme renews in January, now is the ideal time to look at your membership cards and consider what you want them to do in 2014. It’s likely that they could be performing more functions for you than they currently are.

What would you like your cards to do?   

Membership cards
Include a range of features on your cards

Increasing numbers of clubs and organisations want their membership cards to do more than just prove eligibility of membership. By including a range of features, or changing the type of card you use, you can turn them into multi-purpose cards.

If you want to secure access to locker rooms or members-only areas for example, you can easily turn the membership cards into ‘swipe to access’ cards.

Or you could turn them into ‘smart cards’, and allow members to use them to ‘swipe’ for their lunch, or access their tab at the bar.

More clubs are also looking for membership cards that also act as loyalty cards, to encourage more spending from members. We can also advise on the right loyalty system to meet your requirements.

Numbering as standard  

All our membership cards are full colour, double sided numbered cards. You can also choose from a range of extra features, such as signature panels or barcodes. Or why not include a QR code to unlock a members-only benefit on your website? 

Refresh your look for 2014

Even if you don’t need any new features, and don’t need your membership cards to do anything particularly clever, refreshing the design is always a good idea. Many clubs and organisations use the same design year after year, mainly because they don’t have a Designer to create a new one for them. Design and artwork is included in all of our quoted prices, so why not ask us to refresh the look of the cards for you.

All our membership cards are made from high quality, durable plastic and are the same thickness as a standard credit card.

Our friendly team is happy to advise on the many features of membership cards. Call us on 0844 257 8857 or email sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk

Are hand gestures the future of access control?

Access control technology is constantly advancing. The latest invention in the industry comes from HID Global, which has just announced its innovative ‘gesture based’ methods, which can be used on RFID-based devices such as smart cards and smartphones.

It means that we could soon be opening doors with a wave.

Access control entry gesture
If you don’t know the right wave, you’re not getting in

According to HID Global, the technology will increase privacy and convenience, as well as security. For example, it can allow the user to secretly signal that he is using his card to gain access, but is under duress.

How will it work in practice?
A user will define a series of hand sequences or gestures that will control the operation of an RFID- based reader, like a door lock. When presenting their smart cards to reader, the user will repeat these gestures – for example rotating the card clockwise by 180 degrees and then back again – to gain entry. These ‘passwords’ include 3-D motions such as moving to the left, right, back and forward.

This is a new authentication factor in access control, and steps up security: cloned or lost smart cards would be useless without the appropriate hand gesture.

The technology can also be incorporated into a smartphone, where the user determines gesture-based ‘passwords’ to unlock apps or complete a phone-based transaction.

HID Global is currently inviting partners to contact them for information on licensing the patent.

Read more here

The benefits of photo ID cards

Thinking about making photo ID cards standard issue for your organisation? Badging staff with photo ID cards can play a significant factor in ensuring the security of your building, and the protection of your employees. A photo ID programme is almost always beneficial to companies with large numbers of staff, particularly if they work across multiple locations. But they also have their place in smaller enterprises too.

Identity card
Implementing photo ID cards increases security

On a simple level, photo ID cards identify the wearer, and whether they have the right to access the building. They also make it much harder for the cards to be ‘adopted’ by anyone other than the rightful owner, which automatically tightens security. They also bring a sense of community to your workforce, a benefit that can’t be underestimated.

If you’re currently considering the merits of photo ID cards, here are a few things to consider.

How will you manage the programme?

Who will be responsible for creating the cards, managing the records and dealing with the day-to-day administration? Usually this responsibility lies with HR, but if you don’t have your own HR department, give at least two people responsibility. That way, if one person is on holiday when a card is ‘forgotten’ or ‘stolen’, things won’t grind to a halt.

If you’re bringing this in for security purposes, stick to it.

Don’t make it one rule for one, one rule for another. That means senior management too, otherwise it undermines the whole programme. If the primary purpose for bringing in photo ID cards is to improve security, everyone needs to wear a badge.

Make sure you police it.

Giving all staff a Photo ID card for security purposes is only effective if it’s going to be enforced. If you have someone permanently in Reception, give them the responsibility for checking everyone is wearing a photo ID card when they enter the building. Most importantly, they should stop anyone who is not.

In some industries where security is paramount, for example in healthcare or schools, staff should be given permission to challenge anyone not wearing a badge. This secondary level of checking should reveal anyone who made it past reception unnoticed.

But I forgot my card today…

If someone forgot their pass, make sure they’re given a temporary one for the day, rather than adopt a “It’s ok Susan, I know it’s you” attitude. The receptionist might know them, but that doesn’t mean the whole company does.

Some other things you should ask yourself before you press the ‘buy’ button:

– Do you want the cards to do anything else?

Do you want your photo ID cards to double up as access control cards or cashless vending cards? We regularly supply ‘smart’ photo ID cards – we’ll be happy to advise you if you have any questions.

– Who should you choose to print your cards?

Once you’ve gathered the data together (photographs and details), look for a plastic card supplier you can trust with your information. Check their credibility. It isn’t particularly wise to choose a supplier based in China you’ve never heard of – even if they are cheap – integrity of data won’t be guaranteed. Ask questions – how will the supplier store your information? Are their staff CRB checked? All of these are sensible questions to ask to prevent identities being stolen.

– Do you want someone else to issue the cards for you?

Don’t want to deal with the hassle of administration? Some plastic card manufacturers operate a card issuance service, where the cards are sent with a personalised letter directly to employees. We have done this for a number of large organisations, please contact one of our friendly staff for more details.

–       How will you deal with new staff and changes during the year?

You don’t want to be raising new Purchase Orders and buying large packets of ID cards just because you have one new joiner. Think about investing in a plastic card printer that will allow you to create a handful of cards yourself, when you need to. Or look for a plastic card supplier that allows you to buy more than you need and ‘bank’ them with them. Anyone buying photo ID cards from us can take advantage of our ‘card bank’. Any cards that aren’t used can be drawn on as many times as you like throughout the year, at no extra cost.

Why choose The Card Network?

We have been in the Card Identity business for nearly 20 years. All our Card Bureau staff are CRB checked and we have invested in the latest technology systems to ensure the integrity of your data. Charities, healthcare institutions, schools and businesses trust us to print their photo ID cards. Our packs of 20 cards cost just £70, complete with card holders, lanyards and clips.

Send us your details and we’ll do the rest. We’ll always send you a PDF proof to approve before we print your cards.

Access control cards – be protected over the Xmas shut down

The Christmas shut down can be open season for thieves and opportunists if your building isn’t adequately protected. A lot of companies close their doors over Christmas and New Year to give all staff time off to celebrate the festive season. However this can mean reduced security if a good access control cards system and sensible procedures aren’t in place.

Closed for Christmas sign
Make sure your building isn’t open to thieves this Christmas

In the rush to escape from work on Christmas Eve full of feelings of excitement and goodwill, security can be a bit lax. Make sure your business doesn’t fall prey to those looking for a bonus Christmas present by following a few simple steps.

Tips to keep your building secure over the festive period

1. Make sure valuables are locked out of sight wherever possible – don’t advertise to thieves what’s available. Ideally lock stock and valuables away in a secure room

2. Ensure that you fully ‘lock’ the building for the duration of the holiday and change access rights if necessary, just providing a handful of key users with access

3. If staff members lose their access control cards in the run-up to the Christmas shut down, make sure they are cancelled from the system immediately so they don’t pose a security risk

4. Make sure staff know that the building will be closed and locked over the festive period and that entry will not be possible, even if they have a desperate desire to escape from the family for a day

5. Make a couple of people ‘key holders’ capable of entering the building in an emergency

6. Organise for a key holder to check the premises every couple of days

7. If you have an alarm, make sure it’s linked to a central monitoring station.

Don’t have an access control cards system?

This could be an ideal time to invest in a system as they provide significantly more security than a traditional lock and key. See our blog ‘Which access control cards system do I need’? for more information.

We stock access control cards, key fobs and tokens from all the leading manufacturers including Paxton, Bewator, TDSi, HID, PAC, Cotag, Impro, Indala and Kantech. We also provide smart cards and GenTech, Mifare & Desfire products that work across multiple access control platforms.

School ID cards that pay for your lunch

With half-term over and the evenings drawing in, many schools and colleges are reviewing their security systems and procedures. This often leads to the consideration of school ID cards, as more educational establishments see the benefits of safeguarding staff and pupils.

But did you know that an identity card can be much more than just photographic ID?

Introduce cashless payment – no need to carry snack money around

Paying for lunch
Have students swipe for their lunch instead

Turning your school ID cards into cashless payment cards could make problems with forgotten or stolen lunch money a thing of the past. Our school ID cards can incorporate smart card technology that allows for cashless vending, so pupils don’t need to carry cash around. Parents manage the cashless account online and can top-up whenever required. This means they can also monitor what their children are eating during the day, particularly helpful for those with food allergies. It also gives parents peace of mind that their money is being spent on school meals rather than anything else.

The benefits

As well as being more convenient for everyone, this has a number of benefits above and beyond enabling faster service at tills. Most notably they can help to reduce bullying. Free meals pupils are also given exactly the same card as everyone else, which prevents differentiation.

It’s easy to print these cards in-house yourself by investing in a plastic card printer. Then all you’ll need is a stock of the right cards. We stock some of the best performing and value for money plastic card printers on the market. We also have a large selection of blank smart cards from all manufacturers, equipped with the necessary technology.

So if you’re thinking about school ID cards, think about turning them into a smart card.

Have any questions or like more information? Simply call one of our friendly staff with your requirements and we’ll be happy to help and provide a quote.

Which access control cards system do I need?

There are a plethora of access control cards and systems out there on the market, ranging from basic door entry systems for small businesses through to highly sophisticated remote access security systems for larger enterprises across multiple sites. The choice can be overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for.

Access control card and token
Give your staff different access rights

Look at your own requirements first

Start by assessing what you want an access control system to do. Is it purely to act as a secure door entry system so that you can get rid of your old-fashioned lock and keys? In which case a simple PIN entry system might suffice. Or do you want to provide staff with their own access control card or key fob to increase security so that no-one without a valid card can enter? These standalone systems are easy to buy off-the-shelf and tend to suit businesses with small numbers of users and leisure clubs.

Need something a little more sophisticated?

The next step up from a standalone system is PC based or ‘networked’ access control. This is aimed at organisations who want more control over the various doors onsite and over the people who can open them – often across different sites. These tend to use  access control cards such as proximity cards or magstripe tokens, depending on the kind of reader that’s fitted. This system allows you to easily cancel lost or stolen cards so that they don’t pose a security risk.

You can then set up access privileges through your PC – allowing members of staff access to the areas you specify. These systems can also control other buildings via the computer network, and control services like burglar alarms and exit doors.

These are particularly used by academic institutions, within government buildings and by larger organisations with more than one site.

Which manufacturer?

There are many industry-leading manufacturers of access control cards and systems, including Paxton, Bewator, HID, TDSI, Kantech, PAC, Cotag … the list goes on. Many of these provide starter kits that contain everything you need to get a basic access control system up and running. They include controller, readers and cards, and you can choose to add other items of options to enhance the system.

Even though you cannot buy directly from the manufacturers, the best way to ensure you get the right system for your needs is to contact 2 or 3 of these manufacturers, explain your needs and let them suggest the right solution. Bear in mind the cost of cards or tokens in the future. We sell access control cards to fit most systems, at very competitive prices. To get an idea of how much these cost, visit our access control card section.

 

 

Key fobs, wrist tags, smart cards – what do I need?

Help! I need more key fobs but don’t know what to order

key fob / access control card
Which key card do you need?

There are hundreds of access control cards, key fobs, wrist tags, ring tags, tokens, clamshells, mifare smart cards (the list goes on) out there, and a lot of them look the same. If you need to order more for your current system but aren’t sure exactly what to order, give one of our friendly team a call. Simply send us a photograph of an existing card or key fob, or send us a physical one in the post and we’ll tell you exactly what you need.

We sell all makes, including Paxton, Bewator, TDSi, HID, Pac, Cotag, Impro, Indala, Kantech & GenTech.

You can also find a lot of pictures of products such as key fobs within our access control cards section.