I spent some time recently chatting with Ross Duncan, VP of Channels at Gemalto, due to my role as product manager for Citrix Password Manager.While Citrix remains “strong authentication agnostic”, Ross raised some great points: - Passwords are bad – I don’t think anyone will argue this point!  There have been many solutions to enforce management of passwords to mitigate the inherent weakness.  Then those “solutions” that make passwords more complex can cause user convenience problems – plus bad behavior such as passwords written down, using the same password for many applications, and so on.  Then the help desk calls are both extensive and expensive.  - eSSO means putting all the keys to the kingdom in one place.  This allows IT to use hyper-secure passwords (20+ characters, special characters, etc.) that change rapidly.  However, the end user now has only ONE password to know – therefore there is a case to augment it with a strong authentication device like Gemalto smart cards. – Coupling of eSSO and smart cards brings the ultimate in convenience with maximum security – the user inserts their card, enters their PIN, and they can securely access the system.  This is much easier then entering user name/password – easier and more secure. - Vendors like Gemalto are integrated with Citrix Password Manager, smooth roaming/Hot Desktop, XenApp and CAG, which is convenient for customers.
We also discussed the merits of converging logical and physical security.  This always looks great on powerpoints, but it has been a real slow starter in real life.  It’s been discussed for 8 years that I personally know about, but the actual implementations are lagging.  It always struck me this way: the physical security personnel and the IT security personnel are usually in different areas within and organization, and there are numerous political barriers to having the two groups work together and contribute budgets to make a badge/technology/management decision together.  I know Gemalto has partnerships to do this, but it seems to me to face obstacles.  Would like to hear comments!