Authentication developers are preparing new systems that offer enhanced data security but reduce the burden strict access controls traditionally place on users.
At the Inside ID Conference & Expo in Washington this week, RSA Security Inc. will unveil an SSO (single-sign-on) system for enterprises that is designed to eliminate the hassle of myriad passwords. Called Sign-On Manager, the system combines RSAs strong SecureID authentication with SSO technology to improve security, increase productivity and reduce calls to the help desk resulting from forgotten passwords, according to officials. With Sign-On Manager in place, users no longer have to remember multiple passwords for applications, including Microsoft Corp. Windows client/server, Web or mainframe applications. A single password logs the user in to the desktop.
Companies can choose the level of authentication needed, combining smart cards, USB (Universal Serial Bus) tokens, digital certificates or fingerprint-based biometrics. Sign-On Manager supports smart cards from several vendors.
RSA is not alone in the SSO space. Computer Associates International Inc., of Islandia, N.Y., offers a single-sign-on tool that provides an application migration path for the health care sector. eTrust provides access to mainframes, middleware and the Web, and flexible authentication with smart cards, biometrics and certificates.
Santa Clara, Calif., company Sun Microsystems Inc.s single-sign-on technology, Java System Access Manager, offers standards-based authentication and can be integrated with Oracle Application Server 10g.
While single sign-on is sure to ease the pain of remembering passwords, it will likely cause additional challenges for users in the short term, said Bill Bialick, partner at Bialick, Lee and Associates LLC, an IT security consultancy in Columbia, Md. "The trick is to complicate it here but make it easier over there," Bialick said.
Another smart-card maker, Gemplus International SA, of Luxembourg, this week is launching an ID management system designed to withstand the large-scale demands of homeland security. SafesITe Government is designed to help federal agencies comply with a Department of Homeland Security directive that requires secure and reliable ID for employees and contractors.