More and more companies are using smart card technology to secure access to their workstations, and thereby their networks. Just like the use of ID cards to allow physical access to certain doors in your facility, cards can be programmed to restrict access to certain applications and services on your network. As a result, for example, one department’s services (like the finance department) can be protected from access by another department (like the sales department). There are many options for implementing what is called “logical access control” (as opposed to “physical access control”). But they all start with a program running on each desktop, called “Single Sign On” (SSO). SSO makes sure that each user is only able to see the resources he is authorized to access. SSO is closely associated with “2-factor authentication”, which requires both a physical token and a secret password. The most common physical token is a smart ID card, which users insert into a slot in the computer or keyboard to identify themselves. When they leave the workstation, and remove their card, the screen goes blank, preventing unauthorized access by subsequent users.

One great feature of SSO is that users only need to remember one password. The SSO system, with the smartcard, handles all other passwords, allowing you to implement truly strong password rules which will be enforceable.

SSO is of particular benefit wherever workstations are shared (such as in many medical environments), but in general wherever an enhanced level of security is required. With all the recent reports of massive data theft, SSO is just one more way to raise the barriers to unauthorized access to sensitive confidential data.

Don’t hesitate to ask us how we can help you implement a program using smart ID cards for secure network access.