How to create a secure, affordable government ID

How to create a secure, affordable government ID

When you work for a government agency you will know that every agency has clearly defined requirements for the ID cards they issue to protect the personal and often sensitive information the cards contain. Card security is essential, it doesn’t matter whether the ID card has been issued to a government employee and intended to permit or restrict access to secure government facilities or whether the card will act as a method of citizen identification like a drivers’ license. Whatever the specific role of the card it is essential that everyone has full confidence that the ID card is secure and cannot be faked or copied. For the issuing agency to be certain that their ID cards cannot be easily tampered with or illegally reproduced they must choose an ID card printing system with the right built-in security measures.

How are government ID cards normally used?

Government ID cards are issued by a huge range of agencies at all levels of government from local agencies all the way through State and Federal agencies and individual government departments. Some of the ways ID cards can be used include:

  • Staff identification
  • Visitor and site access management
  • Prior service card

Staff identification

Staff identification is probably the most common use of government ID cards. An ID card is normally worn on either a lanyard or on a badge reel should be clearly visible to other government personnel as well as any members of the public with whom the wearer comes into contact. The nature of the information on the ID card will vary, but for photo ID cards you will need to look for a printer that can produce a high-quality image and crisp, clear print that can be read quickly and easily.

Visitor management

While members of staff can be easily identified by their visible ID cards, what can be done about visitors? Most agencies will have non-employees who need to access the location from time to time. Providing visitor ID cards and knowing to whom those cards have been issued is a useful way of ensuring that only officially approved visitors are on-site and that they only access the permitted areas. A similar approach can be taken with site management with ID cards permitting different levels of clearance so that only certain employees have access to sensitive areas.

Prior service cards

Not all ID cards will necessarily be used on-site, in most cases, ID cards will be issued to active members of staff and will be visible throughout the day but it is also possible for ID cards to be issued to prior members of staff. The ID cards issued to retired staff will allow them to access whatever amenities, benefits, or discounted they may have available to them as a result of their service.

How do ID cards work?

The most obvious aspect of an ID card is its visibility. The majority of them will be on constant display and the clearly visible photograph will help to determine the identity of the individual, but that doesn’t have to be all there is to an ID card. Modern ID card printing systems allow you to incorporate a range of features to enhance the value of the card. In addition to a photograph and a record of the wearers' job role, security clearance, and entitlements modern ID cards can be printed with a magnetic strip or barcode which can be used to store personal, identifiable information.

Securing your ID cards

Creating a well-designed government ID card is important. You will want a design that clearly represents the professionalism of your agency, yet that is only the first step. In addition, to creating a well-presented ID card you will want to produce tamper-proof cards that will enhance the security of your organization. Creating secure cards means choosing the right ID card printer. Many card printing systems come with a range of security measures to ensure the security of your organization. For example, the Magicard Ultima Dual-Sided ID Card printer has built-in visual security which allows the use of up to 10 secure HoloKote watermarks. Such a system would allow you to allocate each department their own individual holographic design on the ID card. As an extra level of security, the Ultima printer uses the wavelengths of the dye-film to fluoresce when placed under UV lighting.

A similar approach is taken by the ScreenCheck SC6500 ID Card Printer which will allow the use of up to four standard HoloKote designs as well as a custom design from the printer driver. The HoloKote security watermark is printed across the surface of the card surface. When used in conjunction with HoloPatch cards, one section of the HoloKote watermark is highlighted as a high visibility security seal. If Custom HoloKote is available it will allow the watermark to be customized to show an individual logo or design chosen by your agency. It is also worth looking at the way the card image is protected from the outside world. Many card printing systems including the Fargo HDP5000 Dual-Sided ID Card Printer will place a durable layer of HDP Film over the card image and if someone attempts to separate the layers, the image will be lost rendering the card unusable.

Affordable production costs

Designing great looking government ID cards which are really secure is important but unless you have a fast and affordable way of producing the number of ID cards you need then you aren’t going to achieve the results you need. To produce the cards that are right for your organization you will need to carefully consider your requirements and look at the volume of cards each printer can produce in a given space of time. The most cost-effective way to proceed is likely to involve purchasing a complete production system including an ID card printer, ID card software, web camera, color ribbon, and PVC cards. Whether you need a single-sided printer such as the Zebra ZXP Series 9 or the ScreenCheck SC6500, or a double-sided option like the Magicard Ultima or the Fargo HDP6600 you can be sure of finding exactly what you need on