Secure Document Design Concepts

Over the many years that paper forms have been in use, people have learned which things work well in the design and construction of a form. This is not necessarily the case in secure documents. There are a plethora of features that are all designed to deter specific threats. Like many security systems, the key is to optimize the level of protection and to select various features that complement one another.
Think of layering as a system of deterrents that work together to provide greater protection. The concept of layering can be illustrated by looking at home security. The first and most basic layer is that you have doors and windows on your home that close and lock. The next layer may be lighting that is set on timers or positioned to eliminate dark areas. Other layers may include dead bolt locks, security screens, bars, guard dogs, elaborate alarm systems and so on. The point is, layering should provide sufficient deterrence to cause the criminal to pass by the proposed target and go on to something that is less protected. In document security, one would seek to combine complementary features that are in the paper, on the paper, or applied to the paper. This combination will be composed of covert (hidden) features that may be used to detect a fake or trap the criminal in the act. Features may also be overt (obvious) features that are visible and may serve to authenticate an original or cause the criminal to select an alternate target. The need to balance the ability to detect a fake and to authenticate an original is critically important. There is value in each.

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