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Combating Insider Threats with Better Badging Solutions

Contractors and temporary workers rank among the greatest security risks faced by businesses today, according to a recent survey by International Data Corporation of 400 high-level managers in the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

By and large, employers today recognize that management of "insider threats" begins at the door with strategically designed access badges. Most companies now, regardless of how simple or sophisticated their access identification systems, are using ID badges that differentiate between employees, contractors, and temporary workers.

Differentiated badges enable security officers and others to visually ascertain whether a person is authorized to enter a specific facility, area, meeting, or event. These are some of the most common practices for differentiating badges:

  • using different color badges for employees and contractors/temporary workers
  • printing colored stripe at bottom of contractor/temporary worker badges
  • using company name, logo, and colors on employee badges, not on contractor/temporary worker badges
  • including photo for employees, not for contract/temporary workers
  • including contractor logo on contractor badges
  • printing the word "CONTRACTOR" or "TEMPORARY" on badges
  • highlighting contractor name or the word "CONTRACTOR" or "TEMPORARY" in distinctive color
  • reversing badge orientation (horizontal vs vertical) for employees and contractors/temporary workers
  • designing contractor/temporary worker badges with different fonts, colors, and layout

Electronic badges, including proximity cards and badges with magnetic stripes or bar codes, can be programmed with differentiated access levels and integrated with access control and visual monitoring systems to electronically monitor badgeholder activity. Time-expiring badges combine the advantages of electronic badges with the added security of an expiration point at which badges stop functioning unless renewed.

Strategic badging practices are just one part — albeit a very important part — of a comprehensive security solution to manage insider threats. Other best practices include the following:

  • vetting contractors and temporary staff to the same standards used for direct employees, or working with security service consultants or temporary agencies that vet these resources
  • educating contractors and temporary workers about internal security policies

Together, smart badge design, universal screening practices, and security policy training provide a strong defense against insider threats arising from the employment of contract and temporary staff.

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