The benefits of multi-application smart card technology.

Author:Kunz, Volker
Position:Infosecurity Europe 2010

Organisations around the world are facing more security threats to their business than ever before. At the same time, tighter regulation and stricter compliance measures mean that these same organisations are under growing pressure to demonstrate to their investors, shareholders and customers that they are taking a consistent and comprehensive approach to managing these risks in their day-to-day operations.

Faced with these external pressures, more and more organisations are recognising the potential benefits of an effective identity and access management (IAM) programme in terms of cost savings, better service levels, tighter IT governance and improved regulatory compliance. Smart cards are at the very heart of this drive.

Not so long ago, many organisations were relying on multiple credentials to fulfil different tasks. On arriving at work, employees would often have to fumble in their pockets to find one card for physical access to the main building, a separate card to access their own floor, and a security token to give them access to their computer. But these hassles are a thing of the past for organisations that have recognised the flexibility and convenience that smart card technology can provide: several smart card technology leaders have developed converged card solutions that combine both physical and logical access.

The contactless payments space is a striking example of how innovations in smart card technology are helping organisations to streamline their operational processes and make their employees' lives easier through a converged card solution. Willis, a major international insurance brokerage, was keen to create the best possible working environment for its 1,600-plus employees at its London headquarters. The company was looking for a solution that would allow it to extend the functionality of its existing access control cards-provided by HID Global--to incorporate cashless payments for its new catering facilities. In this case, HID worked with a partner, VMC, to leverage the technology already in place to create a seamless solution that gave employees a convenient and efficient way to access the building and pay for meals with a single card.

Contactless physical and logical access smart cards are also being integrated with transit systems around the world. Take Murcia University in Spain as an example: HID recently worked with integrator Protelsa to create a converged card solution for the University's fleet of buses...

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