Article posted: Nov 15, 2018

By Joakim Thorén, CEO

From global companies to SMBs, the heart of the workforce today is mobile. In fact, by 2020, the mobile workforce is projected to comprise roughly three-quarters of U.S. employees, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

While enterprises of all sizes want to maintain the strong two-factor authentication (2FA) they receive from traditional smart cards, most want options that do not involve adding hardware to their mobile devices.

Keeping a mobile workforce secure is not possible with passwords alone, but virtual smart cards (VSCs) can be a great solution. While Microsoft is phasing out its virtual smart cards, Versasec and other security companies are seeing more growth and interest in their virtual smart card solutions and are investing heavily in the technology. Versasec is one of the security companies that offers virtual smart cards as a way to provide superior two-factor identity to mobile workers. VSCs enable two-factor authentication on a user's device without necessitating smart card readers and USB tokens. VSCs are excellent for protecting companies' IT systems from external threats such as hacking and other unauthorized access from external devices.

VSC technology revolves around the use of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), hardware that comes pre-installed in any modern computer. For users with Windows 7 and up, VSCs can be created and the key is cryptographically-secured in the TPM. By making use of VSCs, IT administrators realize significant hardware cost savings and faster deployment - which enables what we at Versasec call the Just-In-Time Smart Card. Versasec's VSC solution is flexible and provides access to an infinite number of "smart cards" on each computer.

A good example of using VSCs to secure a mobile workforce is Switzerland's largest insurance company, Mobiliar. When the insurer upgraded the laptops for its large mobile workforce, the company opted to not purchase the hardware required for the new laptops to support traditional smart cards. Working closely with Reist-Telecom, Versasec provided a new solution to maintain the insurance company's stellar two-factor authentication practices. At the center of the new identity and access management solutions were VSCs.

"Reist-Telecom and Versasec provided the best, most cost-effective solution for our identity and access management needs. Employees spread throughout our 200+ office sites are now able to securely sign on and access critical data without physical smart cards - even if they are working in their home office or as 'mobile workers,'" said Hans Probst for Mobiliar.

And virtual smart cards have a variety of applications, including domain logon and remote login to corporate VPNs and single sign-on experience for bring your own devices (BYOD).

Versasec has its own virtual smart card with a number of unique features including:

  • Remote security device management (RSDM)
  • Roaming VSC
  • Advanced PIN policy management
  • Supports a wide set of platforms including Windows 7
  • Free - when managed by vSEC:CMS
  • Interfaced already from the login prompt, for issuance and administration
  • Future support for Windows Hello

To learn more about securing your mobile workforce with Versasec's virtual smart cards, visit https://versasec.com/virtual-smart-card.php.

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