If you tried to enter Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, you would fully expect to have your ID badge thoroughly examined before being granted access. Of course, given the high stakes of a war zone, you would probably be happy to comply with the added delays and nuisances related to a security measure requiring people to verify that your ID badge is legit—and that you are its rightful owner.
But in your everyday life here in the U.S., the situation isn’t always so cut and dry in regard to ID badges. For instance, should your local schools have an ID badge system? What about local businesses? Obviously, the answers to these questions depend on the type of schools or businesses and where they are located.
For you, the security dealer, the market for secure ID badges is growing and provides an opportunity for recurring revenues. Knowing how to help your clients assess their threat levels and identify which badges best fit their environment could boost your profit margins and enable you to better provide clients the “complete package” of security.
The Importance of Authorizing Access PROPERLY
“Your two typical uses [for ID badges] are both physical and logical access—to give someone access to a location or access to information,” says Shane Cunningham, Inside Sales and Marketing, Digital Identification Solutions. The company offers EDIsecure XID printers which can print on multiple card materials.
Anytime you have people getting unauthorized access to areas or information, the chance for a significant breach in security is increased. Therefore, it makes sense that a better badge system can better keep people where they belong. It is less likely there will be a breach in security. Securing the badge, itself, helps secure the building.
Naturally, the more security features put into the badge’s material, the more secure it will be; however, initial costs will also be increased. As such, clients have to make their own decisions regarding a badge system. But sometimes getting them to even think it through is the biggest obstacle.
“When you’re looking at corporations, if somebody has access to employee data, customer data, intellectual property that they shouldn’t have access to, what kind of harm could that potentially cause your organization?” says Kathleen Phillips, vice president of sales and marketing, Fargo Electronics.
If people on a college campus have access to personalization equipment and are creating fraudulent badges, then they’ve got access to dorms and that could be somebody’s son or daughter who’s violated, adds Phillips. “Or take day care for example. A lot of times they’ll use badges to identify which [relatives] have access to pick up that child. If you’ve got a badge where all of the sudden a parent who doesn’t have custody can take and produce a fraudulent badge, you’ve got a missing child case.”
“A lot of it is about managing risk,” says Connell Smith, vice president of ID solutions, Datacard Group, “and part of it is going back to understanding what the customer’s needs are.”
Securing Today’s Badges
Last September, federal agents apprehended a military contractor who had just landed at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. His charge? Conspiracy to defraud the United States and possession of military badges with the intent to defraud; or put more bluntly, while he was working in Iraq, he gave unauthorized people access to the Green Zone.
On one hand, it might be depressing to think that if the Green Zone’s badge system could be compromised, any badge system could. However, keep in mind that as technology advances, it is becoming harder for external or internal people to falsify a state-of-the-art ID badge; and if they do succeed at creating the false badge, they are finding it increasingly difficult to get away with it.