outdated ID card technologyHow old is your access control technology? The technology behind the cards that your employees use to gain access to your offices might be older than you think…

Guess my age

Do the cards you are using have a magstripe that you swipe in a reader? Did you know that mag stripes were invented in the 1960’s? That’s nearly 60 years ago. For technology, 60 years is an eternity. Would you be surprised if you were told that hackers have known for decades how to easily copy these cards and gain unauthorized access to buildings?

Are you still using 26-bit prox RFID or Wiegand technology? This low-frequency (125 Khz) RFID technology was invented in the 1970’s. Again, you should not be surprised to learn that various methods for hacking and copying this supposedly “secure” technology exist. These methods have been widely published over the past 30 years.

What’s more, the devices needed to clone these old technologies now cost next to nothing. They can easily be obtained online by anyone. You don’t need any special knowledge to “crack” them.

Time for rejuvenation

In a recent survey of corporate security managers, over half indicated that their access control systems were at least 6 years old, and probably required an update. There are many corporations throughout the country which utilize these outdated technologies to secure their buildings. Some people live in the naïve belief that cards of this sort are more secure than physical keys and locks. But there really is little or no evidence of increased protection from these “technology” cards. Yes, they may be marketed as “secure technology cards”, but in reality there is nothing “secure” about them. And the “technology” they use is over half a century old, completely out-of-date and surpassed by more recent developments.

The good news is that it may not be very difficult or costly to upgrade the technology cards your company uses. The key to doing this is the readers. (You know, Those small devices beside every door which read the card and send the card’s ID number to a central control panel.) In most cases, these low-cost, outdated readers can be swapped out for readers capable of reading more advanced, more secure cards. The cost of doing so for a building with 4 or 5 access points may only be one or two thousand dollars.

Once the readers are upgraded, re-issuing cards using the updated, more modern technology is also quick and easy. A service like InstantCard can produce and send hundreds of photo ID cards within 24 hours. We can print thousands within a few days. Therefore, if the new replacement cards are ordered on Monday or Tuesday, they’ll be in-hand for distribution by Thursday or Friday. Then, you can swap out the readers over the weekend. The following Monday the access card technology upgrade will have been completed! The readers are the bulk of the upgrade, budget and time-wise. Cards with more secure technology are relatively inexpensive.

Security never looked so good

Many companies still use plain blank white cards for access. An added benefit of upgrading your technology could also be the switch to secure, professional photo ID cards. Badges of these sort add an additional layer of security, linking the badge to its owner with a clear, easily verified photograph. As you re-think that outdated technology, you may be able to score an additional win by ensuring that each card is securely linked to an individual. Check out our article on building security to find out different methods of keeping your building secure.

Don’t run the risk of unauthorized intrusions. This might prove very costly for the company. Instead, doesn’t it make more sense to move to 21st century access control technology now? With a bit of forward planning, this transition can be made quite inexpensively, with very little disruption to the company’s daily operations.