RSA releases government compliance product

RSA Security Inc. on Monday announced a smart-card management product aimed at helping U.S. government agencies comply with an upcoming presidential directive mandating the use of chip-based identity cards.

The RSA Card Manager product, available next month, is aimed at helping agencies comply with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12), requiring federal employees and contractors to use a new standard for physical and computer access using smart cards. Several IT vendors have been rolling out HSPD-12 products in preparation for the October 2006 deadline set by U.S. President George Bush.

The RSA Card Manager will allow customers to increase security by addressing smart-card needs throughout their lifecycle, including issuing, replacing and canceling cards, RSA said. The RSA Card Manager software includes a self-service Web portal, allowing users to perform smart-card and credential-management functions, such as unlocking smart cards, requesting temporary credentials in the event that a smart card is lost, and handling digital certificate renewals without help-desk support.

It’s important for smart-card management products to include functionality that makes it easy for users to reissue cards while maintaining security, said Kevin LeBlanc, product marketing manager with RSA Security. With RSA Card Manager, users who leave their smart cards at home will be able to issue themselves a temporary card by answering a series of personal questions.

“Being human beings, at times we may forget or at times we may lose that smart-card credential,” LeBlanc said. “As important as it is from an administrator’s perspective to be able to shut off that credential, it’s also important for you and I as information workers to be able to go about our business immediately.”

With the smart cards, agencies will be able to employ multiple-factor authentication, such as combining personal ID numbers or biometric information with the smart card before allowing users to log into their PCs, LeBlanc said.

RSA Card Manager is integrated with RSA Sign-On Manager enterprise single sign-on (ESSO) software, which RSA is working on to meet the not-yet-released standards associated with HSPD-12. A combination of card management, ESSO and digital certificate capabilities, available from a single vendor, can reduce customer costs, RSA said.

Prices for RSA Card Manager start at US$30,000 for 1,000 users. Volume discounts will be available.

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