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Effective security solutions for businesses work to protect assets and personnel, without interfering with daily operations. Badge systems or access badges for employees are a popular choice to control who can get into a facility, providing a reliable solution to verify identity and grant or deny access.

This article provides an in-depth explanation of badge access systems, from types of employee badges, components of office badging systems and methods of authentication and setup. It also examines the advantages and disadvantages of using a badge security system.

What is an employee badge access control system?

A security badge system is a type of access control system that uses ID badge cards to identify and authenticate individuals who need access to a specific location or resource. The badges used in these systems typically contain identifying information such as a photo, a name, or unique identification number, plus a way for the user to authenticate on electronic badge readers. Common access badges use proximity card access control, RFID or magnetic stripe technology.

How does an employee badge entry system work?

A door badge system is relatively simple to use and involves three steps:

  1. An employee presents their badge, either holding an RFID access control badge near the device or swiping it through an electronic badge reader.

  2. The badge reader system authenticates the data encoded in the badge, checking the information against identification databases maintained by the business.
  3. The door is unlocked or remains locked, depending on if the user has the proper credentials and permissions to enter.

Where are employee ID badge systems installed?

Badge access control systems are commonly used in many settings, including offices, schools, hospitals, and other businesses and organizations. These types of keyless entry systems are designed to:

  • Enhance security by controlling access to sensitive or restricted areas
  • Streamline access to resources by automating the authentication process
  • Help monitor the movements of individuals within a facility by logging badge system scans 

Badge security systems may also be paired with additional security measures such as security guards, cameras or alarms to increase security further.

What are the components of an employee badge system?

A badge access door system features three main components: 

Badges — A badge is an identification card or employee ID badge required for the user to access a secure location. It typically contains a chip or magnetic stripe that stores the user’s information, such as their name, ID number and security level. 

Card readers — A key card reader system requires a device used to read credential information and grant access according to individual permissions set up by an administrator. Most access badge readers have built-in processors and memory, enabling them to analyze information encoded in the badge to verify the user’s identity quickly and accurately. A key fob entry system may also be used in place of key cards, providing a more portable, discreet credential method.

Magnetic or electronic door locks — An electronic or magnetic door lock is used to physically secure a door, preventing unauthorized individuals from entering. These locks are activated and deactivated by the badge reader system to grant or deny access to each user.

Why customers prefer the Avigilon badging system

  • Encrypted badges that are difficult to duplicate

  • Card system backward compatible with legacy systems

  • Wireless smart locks that support key cards and fobs

  • Convenient, touchless entry with digital badges

  • Easy to install door readers with standard wiring

What are the different types of employee badge entry systems?

What are the different types of employee badge entry systems?

While employee ID badge systems may all appear the same, there are now more access control reader options than ever for businesses looking to implement a badge security system for their facility. The most common types of security badge systems for business include: 

RFID employee badging systems

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) badges are widely used in badge door entry systems. The chip on the badge emits a radio signal read by an antenna at the card reader. Depending on the technology used, the signal can travel from 2.5 inches to 20 feet, resulting in an effective contactless badge access system.

Swipe access badges

Swipe badges use a uniquely patterned magnetic stripe on the card. The user must manually swipe the card through the electronic badge reader to gain access. These badges are easy to use because the magnetic stripe can easily be rewritten, depending on the card technology. So, if someone’s access level changes, the administrator can update their badge. 

However, these types of employee badging systems typically experience greater wear-and-tear, and may need to be replaced or repaired more frequently than a contactless employee ID badge access system.

QR-code badge entry systems

Security badge systems can also use QR codes and specialized scanners to read the code printed onto badges. The information contained within these codes must be accessed online through a secure server.

Since they are relatively inexpensive to produce and easy to update, QR-code badges are becoming increasingly popular in badge access control systems. However, they also pose a security risk because the code can be easily copied.

Digital access badges

As mobile access continues to increase in popularity, some businesses are replacing traditional employee ID badge systems with a mobile access control ID card. These office badging systems include a digital version of each user’s ID badge built into an access app, which they can present at a door reader to gain access, or show to a security guard if needed, eliminating the need to print and issue physical ID badge cards.

Applications for office and employee badging systems

A door access system for employee badging can have many use cases in offices and commercial buildings beyond just letting people in the front door. In addition to allowing access for turnstiles, elevators, parking garages and other facilities, a badge access system for employees can also help with: 

Controlling access to company resources. Employee ID badge systems are versatile enough for a variety of uses, including access to computers, printers, networks and other physical or data resources.

Timekeeping. Some office badge systems enable employees to punch in or out of a shift simply by scanning their ID card, easily recording their hours for payroll or other forms of accounting.

Attendance tracking. A badging system can also be used to record employee attendance. Real-time access badge logs can help supervisors optimize scheduling, and can be vital for mustering in the event of an evacuation or emergency.

Monitoring security for physical locations. A badge system for employees can alert managers and security personnel to potential security issues in real-time by recording failed unlock attempts and maintaining a log of access activity. 

Benefits of badge security systems

If you’re considering installing an access badge system for your employees, there are many reasons to make the investment. Here are some benefits of using badge security systems:

  • Improved security: Who accesses what when, and where can be monitored and recorded to prevent unauthorized access. Also, some types of access badges can be deactivated if they are lost or stolen.
  • Enhanced visibility: Employers can monitor employee attendance and see who enters and leaves the premises based on employee ID badge scans. As a result, it can be easier to identify any suspicious activity and take the necessary steps to protect against it.
  • Increased efficiency: Manual record-keeping tasks can be reduced by streamlining processes based on scanning access badges.
  • Effective for more than one entry point: Newer card technology allows businesses to secure multiple access points with the same badge technology, making it easier to control access without having to issue more ID badges.
  • User convenience: Badge systems for employees provide added convenience to employees by eliminating the need to enter credentials at designated entry points manually.
  • Enhanced safety: By granting only those with proper credentials access to certain areas within a building, these systems ensure the safety of personnel.
  • Easily scalable: Employee badging solutions allow businesses to easily add more users or modify access levels as needs change.
  • Simple integration: Most badge security solutions are easily integrated with existing security systems. So, organizations don’t have to go through complicated setups when implementing this type of solution.

Drawbacks of badge door reader systems

Although there are significant benefits of badge security systems, there are still a few disadvantages to consider before investing in a new security system:

  • Lack of reliability: Badge security systems may fail to recognize an authorized user if the badge is damaged or not read properly. Interference from other signals, such as cell phones and even magnets might cause problems, too.
  • Inconvenient for users: Users must never forget their badges. If a badge is left behind or lost, access will be denied until the credential is reissued or replaced.
  • Compromising assets and sensitive data: Badge security systems may put confidential data at risk. Many badge access systems rely on outdated technology with known vulnerabilities, so hackers may gain access to the system to steal sensitive information.
  • Financial cost: Badge security systems can get expensive over time. A card might not seem too expensive, but maintaining enough stock of access badges for employees and replacements can add up quickly. Plus, swipe card readers require more maintenance than contactless badge reader systems.
  • Dependent on electricity: Badge systems depend on electrical power to operate correctly and may not be suitable for locations with limited or unreliable electricity supply sources. Backup power sources and fail-safes are recommended to ensure your badge access control system remains fully operational.
  • False alarms: Security badge systems are known to generate false alarms when improperly calibrated due to incorrect authorization attempts or faulty security badge readers.

Visitor vs. employee badge systems

In general, visitor and employee badge systems are similar in terms of technology. However, they have key differences when it comes to using badging systems for your security measures.

Because visitors only require temporary access through a visitor management system, many businesses maintain a stock of generic access badges for guests. These cards may have limited permissions, but don’t contain any unique identification information for each visitor, so this can pose a security risk. 

Badge systems for employees typically grant employees a higher level of access, as employees usually have a greater need for access to company resources. To maintain high levels of security, even for visitors, it’s recommended to use a contactless office badging system, such as QR codes or digital guest passes, that allow users to customize the level and duration of visitor access. 

It’s also important for security teams to be able to quickly differentiate employee access badges from visitors, both visually and in access logs. Knowing who enters which spaces and when is key to maintaining security in any facility.

Is a badge access system for employees right for your business?

Businesses of all sizes and industries can benefit from using badge systems to help reduce the risk of unauthorized access. While they might not be sufficient on their own, they can serve as an effective deterrent and help to secure sensitive areas or resources. And when they are used in conjunction with other security measures, they can play an essential role in assisting businesses to protect themselves.

Badge access control systems can be highly effective in managing access to facilities, general facility management and even space utilization within the building. They offer many benefits, including improved security, enhanced visibility, increased efficiency, and user convenience. However, there are some drawbacks to consider, such as lack of reliability and lifetime costs.

Ideally, a badge security system should be paired with other security measures such as video security camera systems and motion sensors to maximize effectiveness. With the right combination of security solutions, businesses can ensure that their premises are secure and well-protected against unauthorized access.

Have questions? We can help

Our video security experts can help you implement the right security system for your business.