By Jeff Tingley, Senior Business Development Manager – North America, GET Group
Every day, incidents occur worldwide that show counterfeiters and other criminals are actively undermining attempts to establish secure networks for traveling across borders. In recent months, suspected terrorists have been found with fake passports in the Middle East, while the Ministry of External Affairs in Chennai, India, unveiled stringent security standards for passports to cut down on forging official documents.
The threat of counterfeiting passports remains a burden for many countries but substantial improvements are being made throughout the world. These improvements in passport security are now being translated into ID card security, improving identification for a wide range of industries.
Technology employed in cards includes ultra-violet printing, holographic images and a variety of sophisticated encoding techniques, but the first line of defense continues to be image quality and image duration. Levels of security have never been higher, yet many organizations continue to employ printing elements that are decades old and lag far behind their counterparts in the passport realm.
From network authentication to corporate facility access, the first line of defense for many of today’s organizations is still the physical security of the identity credential, making the quality of the on-card image critical for visual identification and authentication. To meet the growing security demands of today’s sophisticated enterprise systems, cards need to adopt new technology, such as the forensic quality of 600dpi resolution and pigment ink.
As countries around the globe embark on new initiatives to cut down on passport counterfeiting on a national scale, it’s time for IDs used in every industry – tourism, education, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and more – to catch up. The money, time and expertise put into the systems that support security efforts can be undermined by neglecting the final piece – the physical card. A security system can be compromised if the credential’s physical security features don’t match the sophistication of the system. There is good news, however, as high levels of security can be built into physical cards at a cost that rivals that of older, less secure technology.
The new security standard is 600 DPI
For most enterprise identification, access control and other security applications, the physical security of the card has become an afterthought. Yet it is often the surface of the card that contains the most critical elements for authentication: namely photos and text.
Like a passport, these two are the most common and oft-examined components of a card, but they are too often overlooked in the push to chip technologies, RFID and more. While electronic data storage and protection technologies are critical, it is the simpler aspects of the card that hold uniquely cost-effective keys to improving security. Furthermore, by utilizing advanced printing technologies, these pieces can become much more than just identifiers, playing a significant role in card security. When produced in high-resolution formats, photos and text act as detailed differentiators that increase the difficulty of duplication or alteration of the card.
Three hundred ‘dot per inch’ (DPI) images have long been the standard for identification and access control cards but organizations are increasingly confronted with the need for a higher level of instantly assured authentication. Greater physical and logistical security requirements, improved availability of data on-demand and the ability to include more and more of this data on cards have collided to create an unprecedented need to easily verify card validity. Lower-resolution imagery is struggling to meet this challenge.
New, passport-quality 600 DPI printing technologies can provide the answer with higher resolution capabilities than ever before. 600 DPI printing provides crisper, more true-to-life imagery that is substantially more difficult to alter or fabricate. The enhanced detail of logos, photos and text combine to deliver a higher quality card with a greater degree of protection against counterfeiting.
Not only is it noticeably superior to the naked eye, but 600 DPI also provides precision of detail at the next level. 300 DPI-based content on lower quality cards will blur when viewed under a loop, obscuring finer details and making it harder to guarantee visual authentication. But 600 DPI preserves even the finest details that differentiate visual content. As a result, the ability to tamper with cards or forge them entirely is much easier with 300 DPI cards.