Looking ahead at 2013

sselvaratnam's picture

Looking into 2013, there are a number of trends that I believe will impact the direction of the market and how organizations will create, use manage secure identities. Some of the trends I am seeing unfold this year include:

Users are seeking a more “frictionless” security experience, with solutions that are built on open standards to ensure interoperability, adaptability, and credential portability to mobile devices.

The term “frictionless” is used to describe security solutions that don’t slow users down. Rather than make users carry separate cards, keys and tokens, the coming generation of frictionless solutions will embed these and other credentials inside Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled smartphones and other mobile devices. To support this trend, credentials will be embedded into NFC-enabled phones, and identity management will move to the cloud in a way that facilitate frictionless user login (often from personal devices using the Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, deployment model) for both Software as a Service (SaaS) and various internal enterprise applications.

Mobile access control adoption will accelerate and evolve to dramatically change the industry.

During 2012, the industry laid the foundation for mobile access control deployment on NFC-enabled mobile devices. To fuel broad adoption, the landscape must include widely available NFC-enabled handsets with secure elements, supporting all primary operating systems. The landscape also must include readers, locks and other hardware that can read digital keys carried on these handsets, as well as an ecosystem of mobile network operators (MNOs), Trusted Service Managers (TSMs) and other providers who can deliver and manage mobile credentials. The timing and development of this ecosystem will have an impact on how quickly NFC is adopted for any application, from mobile payment to transport ticketing to access control.

Mobile access control solutions will still co-exist with cards.

One of the greatest benefits of mobile access control is that all identity information the user requires for opening office doors and logging onto enterprise computers is safely embedded in a phone, rather than on a plastic card that can be copied or stolen, and without requiring the user to remember passwords (or write them on Post-it notes attached to their computer screen). Despite these and other benefits, it is unlikely that NFC-enabled smartphones will completely replace physical smart cards in the coming years. Instead, mobile access credentials inside NFC-enabled smartphones will co-exist with cards and badges so that organizations can implement a choice of smart cards, mobile devices or both within their physical access control system (PACS). It will be important for users to plan ahead to support both types of credentials in their PACS.

Access control continues to converge – both on cards, and on NFC-enabled mobile devices.

Users increasingly want a single credential for entering the building, logging onto the network, accessing applications and other systems, and gaining remote access to secure networks without needing a one-time password (OTP) token or key fob. It’s more convenient, and greatly improves security by enabling strong authentication throughout the IT infrastructure on key systems and applications, rather than just at the perimeter. It also reduces deployment and operational costs, by enabling organizations to leverage their existing credential investment to seamlessly add logical access control for network log-on and create a fully interoperable, multi-layered security solution across company networks, systems and facilities. Converged solutions also help organizations meet regulatory requirements, enforce consistent policies, and drive consistent audit logs throughout the enterprise while cutting costs by consolidating tasks.

Card technology continues to evolve from magstripe cards to prox cards and on to smart cards.

Card technology continues to evolve from prox cards to magstripe cards and on to smart cards. Today’s gold standard for access control applications is contactless smart cards that are based on open standards, and feature a universal card edge, also known as a card command interface, which improves interoperability with a broad ecosystem of products within a trusted boundary. The latest cards improve security, privacy and portability to mobile credentials, and users are increasingly enhancing their cards and badges with more and more layers of additional visual and digital security. Cards also increasingly incorporate expanded digital storage capacity so they can include biometric and other multi-factor authentication information to enhance identity validation. Printing technology also continues to advance in support of these trends, simplifying how cards are produced and distributed while making them more secure.

Stay tuned for more next week …