Large and small companies spend large sums of money each year equipping their business units and legal, IT, facilities and security departments to prevent losses. Companies must manage risk to be successful, and the security department plays an integral role in that effort.
One way the security department supports risk management is by properly controlling access to the company's facilities. But access control technology cannot protect the facility by itself. Most facilities have some access points that require only visual badge inspection. A well-designed, quality ID badge goes a long way in supporting a company's desire to mitigate losses. The security badge indicates a great deal about the security department. It reflects the quality of the security program and the level of support the security department receives from upper management. If the badge is not well designed, it is apparent that it is more an instrument of necessity than a part of an orchestrated security program, and this may make the company a target for criminals. A poorly designed badge may also be easy to counterfeit.
Considerations for Strong Badge Design
The employee badge layout must be carefully thought through. You must consider such factors as the location of the company name or logo, the location and orientation of the ID photo, the location of the employee's name, and font and color options. You'll also have to decide what information should be printed on the badge. A combination of text and colors can be used to mark years of service, security clearance, interim clearance, escort privileges, employee numbers, special program access, building access, the badge-issuing site and any personnel information deemed necessary.
Contractors and Visitors
The company must also manage access for contractors and visitors. Badges issued to contractors should be noticeably different from employee badges. Usually the contractor's name and the contract company's name are on the badge. The badge may have "contractor" printed on it. Design distinctions may add to the contractor badge's uniqueness. For instance, if the employee badge is laid out in portrait orientation, the contractor badge may be landscape. Or a contractor badge may be a different color than an employee badge. By making the badges clearly different, you enable average employees to easily distinguish fellow employees from contractors. They can then support the access control program by recognizing and reporting when a contractor tries to enter an area to which he or she should not have access.
You may decide not to use ID photos on every contractor badge. Often, the length of time the contractor will be on site determines whether his or her badge will include a photo. The longer the stay, the more useful or necessary a photo may be. A list of sites the contractor has access to and an expiration date can be part of the badge.
Visitors also need a badge that provides a unique appearance. The company wants a visitor to have a positive experience during the time spent at its facility, but the visitor's access must be limited to approved locations. Not only are assets at stake, but a visitor can provide feedback to acquaintances that may add to or take away from the company's image. If a visitor's access is not carefully controlled, the company will seem lax in security.
Often a visitor badge resembles a nametag with no photo. A visit date or date range normally appears on the badge as an additional precaution. Temporary visitor badges may be printed on special chemically enhanced papers that begin to display hidden stripes or words, such as "void," after a set period of time, automatically voiding the badge. This ensures the visitor can't reuse the badge after its expiration date. These automatically voiding badges are available with half-day to one-month expiration times.