Both enterprises and government agencies are moving to replace simple passwords with stronger, multi-factor authentication systems that strengthen information security, respond to market and regulatory conditions, and lower support costs.
Smart cards support all of the authentication technologies, storing password files, public key infrastructure certificates, one-time password seed files, and biometric image templates, as well as generating asymmetric key pairs. A smart card used in combination with one or more authentication technologies provides stronger multi-factor authentication and significantly strengthens logical access security. Smart card technology also provides the flexibility for including all authentication factors in a single smart card, improving the security and privacy of the overall authentication process.
Smart cards are becoming the preferred method for logical access, not only for their increased security, but also for their ease of use, broad application coverage, ease of integration with the IT infrastructure, and multi-purpose functionality. Both Microsoft® Windows® and Unix® operating systems offer a significant level of smart-card-related support and functionality, through either built-in (out-of-the-box) support or commercial add-on software packages. Smart-card-based logical access allows organizations to issue a single ID card that supports logical access, physical access, and secure data storage, along with other applications. By combining multiple applications on a single ID card, organizations can reduce cost, increase end-user convenience, and provide enhanced security for different applications.
Smart card technology provides organizations with cost-effective logical access. Smart cards deliver a positive business case for implementing any authentication technology. Improved user productivity, reduced password administration costs, decreased exposure to risk, and streamlined business processes all contribute to a significant positive return on investment.
This article was originally written by SmartCard Alliance