RSA offers token, smart-card reader combo

Aiming to decrease the amount of data employees need for security and authentication, RSA Security Inc. Monday announced the release of its SecurID ComboReader.

The SecurID ComboReader is a combination token and smart-card reader, designed for use with RSA's ACE/Server security and authentication software, the company said in a statement. ACE/Server is a two-factor authentication system that RSA offers for e-business and remote access customers. Two-factor authentication requires users to provide two pieces of data in order to be authenticated: something they have -- in this case a token -- and something they know, like a personal identification number or password.

About the size and thickness of five or six credit cards, the SecurID ComboReader functions as a token, but also offers a smart-card reader for future use, according to Ted Kamionek, senior product manager of smart cards at RSA. The device is aimed at businesses that already use token-based authentication and are unsure about their future technology direction, but are considering smart cards, he said.

For companies using tokens that might move to smart cards within a few years, the SecurID ComboReader "allows people to hedge their bet towards a more complicated technology solution," he said.

By having smart-card readers already deployed as part of tokens, when companies do decide to move to systems based on smart cards, they will save money and be able to get a new system up and running faster, he said.

The SecurID ComboReader will be available worldwide within 30 days and costs US$66 each in quantities of 1,000, with bulk discounts available. The device plugs in to both serial and USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports.

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