What does it take to be a security printer?

from Warner, Richard D. and Richard M. Adams II, Introduction to Security Printing. (Pittsburge: PIA/GATF Press, 2005).

A carefully customized security system should incorporate the following attributes:

  1. It should respond to the threats the customer is facing. The supplier therefore needs to have a comprehensive understanding of the type of counterfeits that are found in the market and the threats of reproduction, such as digital reproduction, copying, and scanning technologies.
  2. The security system should take into account where and how the document or product is authenticated or tracked. Documents and products are not only authenticated at an overt, covert, or forensic level, but also may be tracked throughout their life cycle. Tracking, however, is only useful if an appropriate data management system is supplied with the technology and the customer has access to the information.
  3. Following a thorough assessment of the risk and the way in which the customer would like to authenticate the product or document, an assessment must be made of the level of security that is required for production and distribution of the security solution. If the printer produces the complete security document, then appropriate physical and procedural security should be maintained within the production unit. Security will add to overhead, and therefore a thorough analysis should be carried out. Building security, access control, ID cards, alarm systems and distribution facilities should all be reviewed as a part of this cost-benefit analysis.
  4. After-sales service is essential for the development of long-term partnerships. Regular meetings should be held between the printer and his client in order to monitor progress nd any counterfeitst that have been discovered. The supplier should always have upgrades available in case the original features have been compromised.

Security printing industry is hard to break into, especially since the highest levels of security are restricted to a few main companies and customers.

When dealing with government departments or government bodies around the world, for example, good contacts at the right level are required and a certain amount of bureaucracy should be expected. The process of compliance with set standards and accreditations, as well as drawn-out and very costly tendering processes can take a very long time. Once the sale is made, however, this type of business can provide long-term revenue streams.”

It’s good to know about your competitors in the market, and their strengths and weaknesses.

Security printers’ core strength lies in their ability to source and produce security printed products in secure facilities. Many have built their image on core values such as integrity, confidentiality, and security. Many have their own R&D facilities, but they also buy technologies from outside suppliers (for example, security inks or paper). Security printers also have access to relevant security technologies, a balanced portfolio of features, and the know-how to incorporate these into products. Security printers understand and have implemented appropriate physical security and auditing procedures within their production facilities and distribution. They have a reputation for manufacturing documents and products in a secure environment, a reputation that has been earned over a number of years.”

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