The right secure ID card printing solution October 18th, 2018

The right secure ID card printing solution
The spectrum of available secure issuance solutions from multiple vendors can seem overwhelming at first glance, but by understanding the technology options and taking some parameters and factors into consideration, you can narrow your selections.

The following considerations may help to find the decisive factors for the evaluation process, and to choose the right secure issuance solution for your needs. 

With security concerns ever on the rise, today’s enterprises and corporations, healthcare facilities, educational campuses and government agencies are seeking reliable, scalable and cost-effective solutions for producing secure ID badges on demand. Such credentials come in many forms and can be dedicated or multifunctional – from a simple photo identification (ID) card through badges that enable physical access to wall-mounted card readers or even multi-functional smart cards that incorporate more complex technologies, such as access to networks or protected data via laptops or mobile devices; tracking a person’s time and attendance; or cashless vending.

When we are talking about security solutions, quality is paramount. Solutions worth considering are those that are produced out of ISO 9001-2008 certified facilities. An ISO 9001-2008 registration certifies that the provider’s quality system governing the design, manufacture, sales and distribution of their products has been verified by objective third-party audits. In addition to superior quality standards, it is recommended that you only consider those solutions that include full, multi-year warranties on printers and lifetime warranties on related critical accessories such as print heads. This will help to reduce your costs in both the near- and long-term, too. 

The issue of credential durability relates to the efficacy of any secure ID card printing system, and it boils down to how effectively the issued credentials meet the usage requirements over the expected service life of the card. One point is the expected duration of card life and the environments to which cards will be exposed. Is the end credential an employee badge that will be worn outdoors and exposed to the elements? Or perhaps a magstripe card to be swiped through card readers multiple times a day for access to secured locations? 

Partnering with a leader and innovator is absolutely essential. As you evaluate various solutions, it is important to consider the provider’s longevity and innovation in the industry as these are good indicators of what you can expect going forward. You should seek manufacturers with a long-time reputation as a trusted source for innovative solutions, technologies, and services, ideally with a long lasting experience. These providers exemplify stability and customer trust. Ideal providers will also have been leaders in the industry since its infancy and thus, have had a hand in shaping what the industry has become with technology innovations that other providers only duplicate.

Security should be paramount, and its importance can never be overemphasized. It is important to select a secure issuance solution that can support a broad range of credential security measures in order to ensure that the investment is protected. Many printing solutions can support a wide range of visual and technical security elements to ensure that an organization’s identities are always secure and tamper-proof. 

Critical factors in the context of functionality are whether to apply multiple processing steps simultaneously to the ID cards, such as encoding and lamination, and at what rate finished cards must be distributed. Many contemporary card printing and encoding systems are capable of performing multiple operations simultaneously, yielding high card throughput. Each individual station can work independently, yet simultaneously with other printer/encoder units, to seamlessly print visual personalization, encode data via one or multiple technologies – magnetic stripe, smart card, or proximity – and finally to apply layers of secure, protective lamination. 

The question regarding the card printing volume cannot easily be defined. How many cards are be printed and at what intervals? Will new cards be printed intermittently throughout the year or will large batches printed of cards at a time, several times a year? Some printer models are equipped to print larger volumes over time but only intermittently, whereas others were built to produce significant volumes in single large-batch runs. 

Holistic thinking is the word when contemplating an ideal secure ID card printing solution with flexible interoperability. In what other ways might an ID badge be used in the organization? What other systems/functionalities are needed? Whether the company seeks to migrate simple ID badges into multi-functional technology cards or to increase security by tying into a Physical Access Control System (PACS), it is highly recommended to consider providers that offer a full spectrum of interoperable secure identity solutions. 

Is there a need for remote or wireless printing? Are solutions required that allow doing mobile, on-the-spot printing and encoding of secure IDs? There are various solutions that can support multiple connectivity options spanning USB for single PC connectivity, Ethernet for network printing, and Wi-Fi® for convenient wireless card printing. 

BlueStar is working together with leading suppliers for card printing and encoding to offer end customers through his resellers and integrators secure and current ID solutions.


Samantha is BlueStar's Digital Media Specialist, and the primary contributing writer for VartechNation. Previously, she has worked as a Public Relations Associate and a Social Media Manager.