CRYPTOCard simplifies secure access

CRYPTOCard has integrated the latest version of its authentication software, CRYPTOAdmin 4.0, with InfoExpress Inc.’s VPN software in an effort to give end users a simpler-to-use, end-to-end security tool.

William LaHam, CRYPTOCard’s vice-president of sales in Kanata, Ont., said the integration made sense, because more and more companies are moving from dedicated dial-up networks for remote access to Internet-based VPNs.

“For a lot of companies, there’s a tremendous economic advantage to using the Internet as opposed to dial-up,” LaHam explained.

In integrating their products, CRYPTOCard and InfoExpress tried to make the process as similar to the look and feel of dial-up access as possible.

“The user sees the dial-up network they’re familiar with,” LaHam said, “but if they try to enter a secure site, they’re prompted for a PIN.”

The challenge-response process of authentication takes place in the background.

“There’s only one more step than what they’d be used to for any Internet connection,” LaHam said.

After the user’s ID and PIN are entered, CRYPTOCard generates a unique, one-time password, which gets discarded after the session.

Other CRYPTOCard features include: the ability to tunnel though firewalls, which LaHam said is useful for company staff working at customer sites; the fact that CRYPTOCard does not require a separate authentication server; and a one-time licence fee, rather than recurring fees.

Forrester Research analyst Ted Julian, based in Cambridge, Mass., doubts tighter integration between the InfoExpress and CRYPTOCard products will appeal to many users.

“The dilemma of the entire VPN market is if you were to pile up the ink that’s been used to write about VPNs and pile up the actual VPN purchase orders, you’d have two very different piles,” Julian said. “There’s just not much product shipping.”

Ultimately, Julian said, users will demand that authentication firms such as CRYPTOCard integrate well with whatever VPN the users have.

One user who is happy about the CRYPTOCard/InfoExpress integration is Don Andrews, IS director at Yantra Corp. in Acton, Mass., near Boston. Yantra produces supply-chain software and requires a security tool to allow its sales staff and implementation teams to log onto the corporate network from off-site.

Andrews has been using the previous version of CRYPTOCard for approximately one year and is now upgrading to the integrated InfoExpress version.

He said replacing Yantra’s 1-800 dial-up access line with a VPN and authentication software saves his firm approximately US$6,000 a month in telecommunications costs.

Andrews said the integrated CRYPTOCard/InfoExpress tool has everything he is looking for.

“Once in a while as an end user, you’re pleased to say the tool does exactly what you want it to do,” he said.

The CRYPTOCard/InfoExpress product set comes with several token options including hardware-based tokens, server-side tokens and Java-based tokens.

Yantra opted for the hardware-based tokens “so if someone loses their laptop, they won’t lose their encryption, too,” Andrews said.

The CRYPTOCard/InfoExpress server software runs on Windows 95/98/NT, Solaris, Red Hat Linux, AIX and FreeBSD. The client-side software runs on Windows 95/98/NT, MacOS 8, Solaris and Red Hat Linux.

Pricing for the InfoExpress VPN client software starts at US$89 per seat. The Gateway servers range from US$1,495 to US$2,495. CRYPTOAdmin 4.0 Standard Edition is US$5,000. The suggested price for the tokens ranges from US$59 to US$79.

CRYPTOCard can be reached at (613) 599-2441 or at