Security is vital to all industries, from manufacturing to the healthcare sector. Breaches in security can result in stolen proprietary materials, financial loss, or worse. Certain kinds of security breaches may even put lives in jeopardy. Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of employee ID cards. 

Today’s article covers how these employee ID cards help keep companies secure. We discuss how RFID and smart card technology identify employees and other authorized personnel, the differences between the two technologies, and which one may best meet your security needs. 

The Importance of Employee ID Badges 

Employee ID badges provide security for companies by identifying who is an employee and who is not. By doing so, they:

  • Safeguard employees by only allowing them access to essential facilities.
  • Customize employee’s access to assets like personnel files appropriate to their position.
  • Prevent unauthorized individuals from entering restricted areas.
  • Protect important company assets and safeguard sensitive information. 

Employee ID badges provide other benefits as well. 

  • Monitoring everyone makes accounting for anyone missing during an emergency, like a fire or earthquake, easier. 
  • Ensure only employees get access to employee perks like childcare services or gym facilities.
  • Verify employees follow company policies like clocking in and out during their shifts.
  • Cut costs by reducing or even eliminating the need for onsite security personnel.

Employee Identification with RFID Tags and Smart Cards

Today’s employee ID badges usually come in two forms: RFID and smart cards. 


RFID, or Radio-Frequency Identification, uses a tag-and-reader system to track objects. The tag, which can be the size of a grain of pepper, contains information like unique identifiers, contact details, and location data. Many employees carry an RFID tag on their employee ID card or badge. 

RFID works when the employee presents their badge and RFID tag to an RFID reader. Readers come in all shapes and sizes and can look like a door lock, an external device, or be built into an industrial computer. The reader detects the tag using radio waves, which can be inches to even yards away, depending on the setup.

The tag’s information is transmitted to the company’s computer network system. The reaction depends on the employee’s profile, ranging from granting access to denying access or sending an alert to IT staff or company security.

Smart Card

A smart card is a physical card with an embedded integrated circuit or computer chip (ICC). Credit cards and similar forms of payment are the most well-known examples of smart cards. 

The ICC contains large amounts of data. The employee’s name, position, and level of access are examples of some data stored in smart cards used as employee badges. Company perks can be maintained on the smart card, like a food tab to the company’s onsite cafeteria.

Smart card access is performed in one of two ways. “Chip and dip” has the employee inserting their card into a smart card reader. Contactless smartcards, on the other hand, work by placing the card close to the reader, similar to RFID systems. The reader’s industrial box PC or similar device then reacts based on the employee’s profile (opening the door, bringing up the files, contacting IT, etc.) 

Meeting Your Security Needs with RFID and Smart Card

Both RFID and smart cards are used as employee ID badges or cards. What is suitable for your company depends on its specific wants and needs. 

Security: The information transmitted between an RFID tag and a reader has little to no security, like encryption or other cybersecurity protocols. Any reader can get a tag to reveal its contents at the right RF frequency and protocol. Car keys, which use a secure RFID tag, are the exception.

Smart cards have a large number of security features. Their ICC can perform complex functions like encryption and securely store and manage data. Most will require a personal identification number (PIN) to be entered before releasing their stored information to readers. In addition, most smart cards can be adapted for even more advanced security features like multi-factor authentication

Speed: RFID tags can be scanned quickly and easily by readers. They can be read from a distance and are not blocked by most common materials like clothing. For example, an employee whose RFID ID badge is in a pocket, wallet, or purse would not need to take it out to unlock a door.

To be verified, smart cards must be inserted into a reader. Even contactless cards must be within 1-2 inches of the reader. Obstacles like clothing or the leather of a wallet can interfere with the card’s operation. 

Cost: RFID tag-and-reader systems can be pricey, especially those with advanced features like active tags, which power and transmit their own radio waves. Also, companies need to make sure they have the right system. There are multiple RFID standards, and selecting the wrong one can be a costly error. 

Smart cards follow international standards, which make them and their readers less costly to purchase, use, and maintain. 

Let Cybernet Help You Identify Your Employees

Employee ID cards ensure that only authorized personnel have access to a facility and its assets, such as confidential files. Today’s businesses and organizations use technologies like RFID and smart cards to verify identity and other purposes like tracking. 

Contact Cybernet today if you’re looking for suitable computers to work with your employee ID verification system. Many of our PCs and tablets come with RFID and smartcard readers either built-in or easily attached via their numerous ports. Other features, like fanless design and rugged parts, ensure our computers function in unique and demanding environments. 

Join the conversation and connect with us on this and other relevant topics – Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.