Are Photo ID Cards the Most Effective Security Measure to Your Business?


We’re living in a time where security in the workplace is more important than ever before. Company bosses and HR professionals have a responsibility to care for their employees and ensure office environments are the safest place possible for workers which means security measures have to be taken.

Photo ID cards have become a popular choice amongst businesses as an effective security measure for identifying staff and visitors and allowing access to specific areas but are they the best option for your business?

What Are Photo ID Cards?

Photo ID cards are a small PVC card, usually the size of a credit card with a photograph of the individual on, often as well as their name and job title. Usually placed in a badge holder and attached to a lanyard so they can be worn by staff at all time, ID cards like this can also be customised for individual businesses.

Company branding can be added as well as barcodes/passcodes that turn the ID card into an electronic key to unlock specific areas of buildings when paired with security systems.

Photo ID cards are quite a common security measure in large office buildings or within businesses as a means of not only identifying staff by name, face and job title but also allowing specific access to be granted to different individuals.

Why Do Businesses Choose Photo ID Cards?

There are many reasons so many businesses already use photo ID cards as their chosen form of security for the workplace but the main reason is quite simply that it is an effective method.

As security methods go, photo ID cards are the easiest to implement across a business of any size, relatively economical once initially implemented and in general, one of the most efficient security methods. Cards are light, thin and easy for all staff to wear in a lanyard at all times, access control systems are subtle to fit around a building and technically, if you don’t have the correct access built into your card, you can’t access areas you shouldn’t.

When compared to other security/access control methods, photo ID cards do generally reign supreme. There’s not really any other method currently available that combines identification and access control in one, which are the two most important elements of security in any business.

Key fobs don’t have the option of adding photo ID, meaning they only offer an access control solution and most of the time, they security fobs are attached to people’s office keys which if you leave them on your desk when you head around the building, your access to certain areas is then limited.

Some companies provide employees with digital ID cards that are kept on work phones as a form of identification when heading into specific areas of the workplace but this concept doesn’t always provide access control and also has a lot of room for error, such as phones breaking or IDs not loading. This also forms the same issue as key fobs in the sense that as this ID is kept on a phone you have to pick up and remember to carry, you could easily leave it at home or on your desk.

The Cost of Photo ID Cards

If you’ve decided you wish to use photo ID cards as the chosen security measure for your business and are now interested in cost then this is where research becomes essential.

There’s plenty of company’s that can provide photo ID cards that are printed to match your company’s criteria and that work with your chosen access control system, Digital ID being one of them.

The exact cost of a batch of photo ID cards varies depending on the specification you have chosen, such as the designs and the technology they require but as a rough idea, 100 standard sized ID cards from Digital ID, with one design and made with NXP 4K Mifare technology will cost between £370 and £450. The access control system that goes with these cards retails for between £40 and over £100, depending on the system you choose.

Although this form of security system can have quite an expensive setup cost, it is long lasting and reliable, so once the initial set up cost is funded, you only need to cover the cost of additional and replacement ID cards being printed which is something you can outsource or do in house.

In comparison to other security measures, the cost of key fobs compared to photo ID cards varies, depending on what you require. Key fobs offer no form of ID and therefore the cost of producing them is often less as there is no need for customisation, however, the lower cost is reflective of a less reliable security measure.

How to Set Up Your Photo ID Card Security System

The process of setting up your photo ID card security system is actually relatively straightforward.

The first step is to choose whether you want standard ID cards or access control cards and buy the relevant technology if required. You will need access control card readers for the number of locations around your office space you wish to restrict access to and these will need installing.

You then need to design your ID cards and use an ID card printing service for the process or buy the required device and materials to print them in house. The cost of these two options varies and the option that is right for your business will depend on how many cards you need and how often you will need cards printing. If you only need one lot of cards printing, getting them done professionally will ensure an affordable and quality product but if you know you will regularly need to print new cards, printing in house may end up being the most economical option.

A Recap on the Benefits of a Photo ID Card System

So, we’ve looked at how the systems work and the costs, so let’s recap the benefits of this form of security within a workplace:

  • Option to buy cards with and without access control for different members of staff
  • Clear and simple form of identification
  • Long lasting and reliable form of security
  • Easy to roll out and implement throughout a business
  • Lightweight and subtle to wear at all times
  • Easier to have on you at all times in comparison to other forms of ID/access control

Implementing and Promoting Your New Security System

Once you have decided to use photo ID cards, either with or without access control, within your business, you then have the task of implementing and promoting this new security measure amongst your workforce.

If this is an entirely new system you’re introducing to your employees then knowledge is going to be key in getting everyone on board. Hosting a full staff meeting on the day you provide everyone with their new ID cards that explains the full system, why you have chosen to do this and what is expected of the staff as part of this new security measure ensures everyone understands.

Sending out an email within your company that follows up on this information also ensures everyone is aware and has the guidelines for the system in their inbox to refer to at all times.

If this new security measure is something you wish to promote outside of your organisation too, social media posts on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn and customer/supplier email campaigns are quick and cost-effective ways of spreading the message.