Smart Card Technology — increase productivity without decreasing the bottom line – ActivIdentity Blog

For most organizations, increasing productivity is so critical to success that it has spawned endless presentations and other initiatives. We all know that many of those PowerPoint decks will collect virtual dust, but some will serve as roadmaps that accelerate successful careers.

Although many theories abound, improving productivity generally requires organizations to do more without adding personnel or investing in additional technology. Virtualization is a nice example of the latter.  Companies are able to increase utilization of physical servers by using them concurrently for multiple business applications.

Investing in security is another area that offers the promise of increased productivity, particularly solutions that leverage investments in physical access, such as ID badges, in order to provide strong authentication for network, application and computer access.

Without relinquishing IT control, deploying such solutions offers users greater convenience as employees will only need to carry a single security device and there will be streamlined management processes for issuing, updating and revoking that credential. Establishing processes that can be controlled and audited and the  solution offers stronger security.

Deployment generally involves two phases. The first phase is to consider how employees can use their existing buildings access smart cards to access computer systems. For example, instead of logging onto Windows using a static password, the user taps the smart card against a reader that is connected to (or embedded in) a laptop and enters a PIN. In that scenario, one factor authentication, which is something you know such as a password, is replaced with two-factor authentication -- something you know (PIN) and something you have (the smart card). The method can also be used for some remote access use cases like Citrix.

The second phase requires upgrading buildings access smart cards to incorporate a smart card chip (Crescendo logical access card products from HID Global offer some excellent examples). The smart card chip doesn’t change the way the smart card functions for physical access, but it greatly expands its capabilities as an IT security credential. The holder can now use the smart card to logon to operating systems, applications and VPNs, and also to encrypt files and emails, as well as sign documents and transactions.

Buying security technology is often compared with buying insurance. Who could argue with a proposition that keeps your premiums the same, but gives you greater coverage?

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