Solving the Mystery of Magnetic Key Cards

It seems like every job you get these days requires key card entry. This is an excellent way to control entry to a business. And some security systems will register each scan, so you’ll know when employees arrive and which entrance they used. ID cards are also a fantastic way to allow some staff entry to more secure areas of the building while preventing others from entering.

Perhaps you’re starting a new business and want to know the scoop about key cards. We’ll talk about how they work and where you can get them for your business.

How Does It Work?

A pass card security system has a card scanning unit you place at exterior doors, floors you want to control access to, or storage rooms. You’ll need a unit at each place you need to secure. You can also program the units to deny access to some employees while allowing others to enter, thereby controlling who in your employee base can access more sensitive areas of your business. There are three types of security card readers available.

    • One is a swipe reader and operates like a credit card reader. It scans and reads the information contained on a magnetic stripe.
    • There’s also an insertion unit, where the card is slipped into the reader like you do at an ATM machine.
    • The third type is a proximity reader, which picks up the information when the card gets close to the reader.

Once an employee uses the card, the security system will read it. Depending on your system, it will open the door, log the employee in with a date and time stamp, or deny access if the employee is not allowed in this area.

A system that logs employees with a date and time stamp can be useful in cases where you suspect a situation like theft. You and the police will have access to the exact date and time every employee entered your property, which can help narrow down or eliminate suspects.

What’s on the Card?

You can program employee security cards with certain information that identifies who uses the card. This can include their name, social security or employee identification number, and type of access (restricted or not).

The information is coded onto the magnetic stripe on the employee’s ID card using a process called flux reversal. Data is placed on the card with an encoder that utilizes an electromagnet. The encoder reverses the polarity of the magnetic strip, which then allows data to be written to the card.

One drawback to this method is that getting the card near another magnetic source can potentially erase the information stored on the card (same problem as with credit cards). A cell phone might also erase the data on an ID card, though this is more of a problem with temporary cards like those used in hotels.

You can order ID cards with additional visual information added to it. This can include an employee name and photo, your business and department the employee belongs to, or other information people can see at a glance. You can completely design your own ID card or use templates provided by the ID card manufacturer.

Temporary Cards

Think about the hotel key cards, where the front desk creates a new card for your room right on the spot. These cards will get you into your hotel room for the duration of your stay, but will likely ‘expire’ when you check out, even if you still have the card.

Some employee ID cards can be temporarily coded just like this. You might want to do this if you hire temporary workers or contract staff such as builders or maintenance. This will give them access to the building for as long as they need.

If you ever need to deny an employee entrance, it’s easy enough to do even without the key card. Simply go into the security software, find your employee, and change their permissions. The next time they use the card, it will not allow them in your business.

Where Can I Get a Reader?

There are many places to order security card reader systems. Some of the best manufacturers include Protection 1, ADT, IDenticard, and Honeywell. You’ll have to answer some questions to find the best system for your needs. These questions include how many doors you need to secure, the number of employees you have, and the approximate square footage of your building. Any of these companies will be able to provide you a quote so you’ll know what you need to secure your business.

ID card building entry isn’t a big mystery. You can gain a lot of benefits by installing a system in your business. It will give you peace of mind, preventing anyone who is not authorized from entering your building. And some units allow you to track who comes in, and when.

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