Schools and colleges should opt for reliable, cost-effective, and scalable solutions for offering secure ID cards on demand. ID badges are available in different forms and serve varied purposes- from photo identification cards to smart cards that offer access to facilities and networks or cashless vending. There is a broad spectrum of secure issuance technology solutions and it can be overwhelming to choose a suitable one for your school. This is why we are sharing this comprehensive guide to help you choose an ID card printer that is right for your school.
Our guide shares the important things that you need to consider during the evaluation process to make sure that you choose the right ID card printing solution to meet the unique requirements of your school. So, without further ado, let us discuss the details that you need to take into account to select the ID card printer that is right for your educational institution.
Consider Security Requirements
Security breaches and concerns are ever increasing and school campuses are no exception. The different levels of security to take into account are becoming more and more complex. Different ID card printing solutions can support a wide range of technical and visual security elements that can ensure that your school’s ID cards are always secure. To ensure security, you need to :
You can begin to determine the proper level of credential security to implement by assessing your risks. Try to find out what will happen if credentials were compromised and unauthorized persons gained access to important data and sensitive areas of your school. Due to the potential for substantial losses, it is very much necessary that people who have access to the buildings of your school, staff, and system are recognized, vetted, and identified easily with proper and robust credentials which cannot be duplicated easily.
- Hardware Security
The next thing is to evaluate various printing solutions that support different security technologies. Security technologies can range from standard to custom holographic laminates and those encompassing visual security features like micro text and morphing images to those supporting smart chips or magnetic stripes.
Choosing a secure printing solution with hardware capable of supporting a wide range of credential security measures helps ensure that your investment is protected. As your security requirements change with time, you only have to buy new accessories or consumables and your core printer investment will remain intact.
This is yet another overlooked aspect of a secure printing solution. The primary level of a secure ID card issuance system should limit operator access to its physical components. Mechanical locks can be used to restrict access to ID card printers thereby helping prevent ID cards printed with sensitive personal details and protected credentials encoded on the ID card from being removed from the printer. In addition, physical locks should be placed on all access points to ensure the protection of printer ribbons and consumables to avoid these materials being accessed by counterfeiters.
Electronic security should be in place to control operator access to ID card printers and should be controlled through personal identification numbers. In addition, print job data packets should meet advanced encryption standards like (AES) 256-bit data encryption to ensure system privacy, integrity, and authentication.
The efficacy of any ID card printing system depends on how effectively the issued credentials meet the requirements of the user over the life of the ID card. When evaluating the options, consider the expected length of your ID card and the conditions or environments to which the ID card will be exposed. The various options that you have are:
High-definition printing technology can offer many advantages over direct-to-card printing if you plan to use over-laminates on your ID card printer. The high-definition film used in retransfer printing protects the printed images, thereby offering more durable credentials and clear visual evidence if any type of ID card tampering is attempted.
ID card overlaminates are available in different thicknesses and can help extend the life of ID cards. ID card laminates that are highly durable can help extend the life of ID cards by as much as ten years.
This can be an ideal option for schools that may not need as much durability as is offered by lamination, or where the use of overlaminates is not cost-effective. A film that is highly durable is almost three times more durable than standard retransfer films and can help extend the life of an ID card by 2 to 4 years, without the need for any additional investments in overlaminates or lamination hardware.
Card Printing Volume
Consider the number of ID cards that you will be printing and at what intervals. Will you need new ID cards printed intermittently or will you need large batches of ID cards at a time? Consider these questions as not all ID card printers are created equal. Some ID card models are capable of printing large volumes over time but intermittently, whereas other printers are capable of printing large volumes in single batches. There are still others that are designed to print smaller volumes or for one-at-a-time print jobs.
Card Throughput Speed and Simultaneous Functions
Another significant factor that you need to take into account is whether or not you will employ multiple simultaneous applications to your ID cards, like lamination and encoding, and the rate at which finished ID cards should be supplied. Many modern ID card printing systems are capable of performing various operations at the same time, ensuring card throughput efficiency and speed. Each printing station will be capable of working independently, yet simultaneously with other ID card printer encoder units.
Interoperability With Physical Access Control System
When considering your ideal secure ID card printing program, you need to think holistically. What other ways night an ID card will be used on your school campus? What other functionality or system will you need to consider when selecting a secure ID card issuance solution? These questions are important and it is recommended that you carefully consider ID card printer manufacturers that offer a full spectrum of interoperable secure ID card solutions.
ID card providers that only focus on stand-alone ID printing products will limit your ability to incorporate and take complete advantage of complementary technologies. By choosing a solution that is interoperable, you can ensure that your previous investments will still be relevant and that you can incorporate additional technologies into your infrastructure as necessary and that they will work together to improve the security of your schools and avoid risks.
The diversity of available secure ID card issuance solutions can seem overwhelming and confusing. But, understanding your options and taking the above factors into account can help you effectively narrow down your selections and confidently choose the right ID card issuance solution that best meets the requirements of your school. Also, make sure to partner with a leader and innovator in the industry to ensure the quality and longevity of your ID card printing solution.