ID Cards

The Levels of ID Card Data Privacy

Two Kinds of Proximity Cards

When configuring your organization’s proximity cards, it’s important to consider the privacy of the credential itself. Choosing how to display or not display your card numbering can affect your employee’s level of privacy.

In order to understand how your prox card numbering options can impact your level of data privacy, it’s important to first understand the difference between internal and external proximity card numbers:

  • Internal proximity card number: The number that is encoded into your individual card (e.g., this is the number/credential that a prox card reader reads).
  • External proximity card number: The number that is printed or engraved on the outside of your individual card.

Generally speaking, there are three levels of proximity card privacy, and each level has various card numbering options that are denoted by code numbers (e.g., “M,” “A,” etc.):

  • Low Privacy – Sequential number encoding with matching printed numbering. Put simply, the number encoded within your prox card (your internal card number) is the same as the external card number printed (“M”) or engraved (“A”) on the packaging of your card. This is the most common level of privacy, because it's extremely easy to use.
  • Medium Privacy - Sequential number encoding with non-matching printed numbering. This means that while your internal and external numbers are sequential, they do not match (denoted by an “S” for ink-jetted numbers or a “B” for engraved numbers). For example, your card could be encoded with an internal start number of 1; however, your external card number is 1,000. This is more secure because the internal card number cannot be read from the back of the card. To effectively mitigate the risk of card duplications, both numbers would need to be logged.
  • High Privacy – No printed card numbering. This means that your cards will not have any external card number printed or engraved on the packaging of the card (denoted by an “N”). The only way to reach your internal card number is to use a proximity card reader.

Determining the level of privacy that is right for your organization is essential to maintaining the integrity of your proximity card issuance. For more information or for help determining what level your company should use, call a knowledgeable ID Professional at (800) 321-4405 for guidance. We’re here to help!

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