The private sector is heading toward the use of similar technologies and controls. Over the past two years, large leading-edge enterprises such as Boeing, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Johnson & Johnson have started to use smart cards for both physical and logical access control authentication. Other enterprises have watched their progress carefully and are now planning their own implementations.
Pushing Convergence into the Mainstream
FIPS 201 and other initiatives that are being implemented to improve identity authentication are driving a paradigm shift for government agencies, businesses and security and identity product and service providers. This shift is forcing a convergence of physical and logical access, requiring the adoption of new processes and technologies and forcing organizations to rethink their approach to managing access and authentication. FIPS 201 has catalyzed the industry and government to work together to develop and implement standards-based solutions that address the new market realities and facilitate this transition.
The migration of the federal government to FIPS 201-compliant PACS, the move by industry to combine physical and logical access systems, and the work on supporting standards are all ongoing efforts. It is critical for all organizations—government and commercial—to closely follow the industry activities and the evolving standards. Extensive information about the status of the standards can be found on the Smart Card Alliance Web site ( www.smartcardalliance.org ) and on the NIST PIV Program Web site ( http://csrc.nist.gov/piv-program/index.htm l).
With government deadlines for FIPS 201 compliance quickly approaching, the government is leading the way to implementing interoperable, standards-based approaches and technologies for secure identification for physical and logical access.
Randy Vanderhoof is executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology. The Smart Card Alliance Physical Access Council focuses on activities that are important to the physical access industry and that address key issues that organizations have in deploying new physical access system technology. For more information, please visit www.smartcardalliance.org.