The Case of the Lost Card

  • Larry Aue

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1027

    We transitioned to a more secure system a few years ago. During normal business hours, there are security people at the entrance and a photo employee badge is required on you at all times (it pops up your picture on a display when you swipe). If you forget your badge, they will issue a temporary paper badge, but they would only do so if they recognized you. Visitors for any length of time are given a visitor picture badge, but daily visitors require someone to go to the entrance and accompany them at all times while in the building. This is the corporate office for a coop.

  • SQLBill

    SSC Guru

    Points: 51440

    We use our badges to access the building and to leave any common areas (like the break rooms). If we forget or lose our badge, we have to go to reception and our supervisor or manager have to show up and approve us to get a temporary badge. By including the supervisor/manager, a person can't be fired and then show up the next day saying they need a new badge since they lost theirs.


  • djackson 22568


    Points: 11713

    As always, it depends.

    One remote site actually has a badge holder in clear view through the glass door used to access the building. Seriously. They have been reported to HR many times. Still there.

    At our data center we have signs that clearly state leaving the door propped open is a violation and to not do so. It is propped open about half the time.

    Some staff refuse to wear their badges, others wear them all the time. Losing a badge costs about $4, and if you have a wafer to open doors that is an additional $4. When you consider the cost of the materials it may seem high, but if you consider the cost of the staff that makes the badge, we lose money. When you consider the wafers, and that another department handles them, well it seems fair to me.

    My issue is the retractable reels don't extend far enough, so you have to lean over or otherwise contort yourself to be able to use the wafers. Clocks are one height, door scanners another. If you wear a lanyard, they are too short for most people, and the policy calls for them to hang at your breast. So if you wear one long enough to be useful, it is in violation. Then there is the issue that you can't ever look at a woman's badge to get their name due to where they are located.

    So mine is on a detachable lanyard, and I remove it to use it.


  • Kumar Arumugam


    Points: 1758

    At our workplace a temporary one day card is issued if employees forget to bring their cards. When a card is lost a new one is issued and the old is deactivated.

  • rhoan.walker

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 185

    I treat my badge as I do my wallet or car key, so I check to ensure I have it each morning. Even though it makes no sense, as it is just needed to access the building and I can just go in with someone or have the security let me in. So it doesn't matter if I have it or not.

    A badge should not only restrict access to a building but also different areas and resources.



  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    djackson 22568 (10/14/2013)

    ...Then there is the issue that you can't ever look at a woman's badge to get their name due to where they are located...

    Working freelance I rarely get to spend long with a set of people so during meetings I like to note peoples names. It is very handy especially as I have never been very good at remembering names. Sometimes I do feel as though my actions will be misunderstood whilst trying to read the names off of badges. Not just the ladies though. Some chaps clip their badge near their buckle. Awkward!!!


    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • phegedusich

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1367

    I support our physical access system. We have a policy that badges must be displayed and used individually for access (no "piggybacking"). Lost cards are deactivated on notification (and are automatically placed in a "never use again" table in the system), and the employee/contractor is issued a new badge. I'm not sure of the cost of prox cards since the business manages that portion ;^).

    In reality of course, real people 1) forget their badges; 2) enter a building/floor en masse by piggyback (try asking 25 senior management types to swipe individually on their way to a meeting); 3) don't display their badges; 4) let other people in on their card; 5) etc. We can only set policy and design/manage the system to our best expectations.

    I wear my badge on a reel on my belt. It's always handy, and besides my tinfoil-hat wallet wouldn't allow it to be read.

  • Andy Warren

    SSC Guru

    Points: 119694

    Bill, that's really interesting and a nice approach.

    Thanks to everyone that commented, there is lots of good stuff there for me to think about and a fascinating look at cultures and how they work!

  • Nevyn


    Points: 14210

    I have worked in places that required the card to be displayed, and ones that did not. And ones that did where it was not enforced. In some places, you could not get in without it. In others, you just could not get in the side doors or after hours without it.

    Lost cards usually mean a fee to replace. Forgotten cards at the places where you needed one to get in could usually be handled by borrowing a "visitor pass" for the day.

    And following someone in has been dead easy everywhere.

    When it is not required to be displayed, I prefer keeping it in the wallet. Less annoying and tougher to forget.

    I'd rather have the card on a reel, but the reels never seem to last long, so lanyard is fine too.

  • tom-64315


    Points: 7

    I was once working as a contractor for a fortune 50 company, in their data security department. I was called in for a 2am server crash. There was a tunnel from the parking garage to the building. We were supposed to display our keycard/picture ID at all times (or else!). After I entered the tunnel from the garage via my keycard/picture ID, I put it back in my pocket since it was cold outside and I was warming my hands. I was met at the end of the tunnel before getting into the building by 2 armed guards - they weren't happy (the tunnel is under video surveillance). This is the same company/dept where if you left your desk, and your screen saver wasn't on and locked, you were fired on the spot, and escorted out the door.

  • jcb


    Points: 6574

    I worked in all ranges from "you are fired on spot for letting you display on" to "no badges at all".

    It depends a lot on corporation size.

    There'a a time where we are supposed to use a barcoded card to gain access to company sectors/floors.

    I forgot that card at home desks, restaurants tables, offices too many times...

    Since a worked a lot with barcodes I managed do reproduce my own card barcode and let a spare papper copy at my wallet.

    Short history: when management realized I can reproduce anyone barcode they got really mad :hehe:

  • paul.goldstraw


    Points: 2626

    With regard to the badges themselves, our badges used to contain the company logo etc on them, in addition to the person's name and photo. Now they just contain the photo and name, making it harder to identify where it can be used should it be lost in a public place.

    We wear them on a lanyard, and generally the advice is to wear them around our neck at all times but many people, myself included, find it an annoyance and tend to either tuck it into a shirt pocket, or just wrap it up and stick it in our pocket, this is typically not enforced, though every once in a while a memo might go round reminding everyone to display it. They're a bit like dress standards in that way, if those at the top don't make a concerted effort to enforce everyone wearing a tie, or regulation shoes, or their badge at all times, then standards are going to slip over time.

    Regards access, the badge is necessary to get into the building itself, and then from there, to get into anywhere other than the main lobby. If we lose the badge, it's £5 to replace it. If we forget it one day then there are a number of interim badges for new starters/guests/forgetful people so they don't have to knock on the door etc, though I can tell you from sitting next to said door that it's still a daily occurrence, the shame of having an interim badge must be too much for some I guess.



  • Greg Charles


    Points: 45403

    We have a picture ID card which must be displayed while in the building. We receive frequent reminders, but I don't think there are any penalties for not displaying it. I carry mine in a plastic holder clipped to my belt.

    We have a separate proximity card key for entering the building and certain other areas within the building, such as the data center or warehouse area. I carry mine in my wallet so I don't forget it.


  • wayne.jared

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 129

    Interesting discussion, my company makes the stuff behind all this, the controllers, management software etc.

    Being in the industry, we fret over this stuff all day long, and spend our time developing things like anti-passback, n-man rules, etc. But, as discussed, you can put all the physical security in place you want, but if people don't respect it and the reason it is there, they'll try to walk around it all day long.

    We (and other companies) now have a credential for your smartphone, it's arguably more secure because of our intimate relationship to our phones vs. how we treat cards/fobs. You may share your card, but I doubt you'd do the same with your phone. Also, in bulk it's cheaper than cards (the app is free, you by bulk licenses for the logical credential)

    An interesting debate we have around credentials is to print or not to print. If you print on the card and require it be visible you get visual confirmation that it belongs to the person wearing it. But, if they lose it in a parking lot, the card typically clearly shows what company this card is for and the identity to spoof. If you don't print on cards, they're anonymous but you don't get constant direct visual verification. However most management software can show the associated picture of a person as they badge through a door.

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