Industry innovators 2007: Entrust Identity Guard

Every company — especially the ones we have selected this month — couples vision with philosophy. The simple philosophy that Entrust embraces is: if multifactor authentication is to be the wave of the future, it must be affordable and manageable without losing its effectiveness. We've looked at Entrust before, but its innovative approach deserves a deeper inspection.

Authentication has been a problem on all fronts for some time. From a user standpoint, if authentication is too complicated, users will find ways to shortcut and perhaps write down passwords or have some sort of non-secure way of keeping their information. From the standpoint of administration, the help desks get bombarded with trouble calls from frustrated users who cannot get access. Finally, from the financial standpoint, it can be costly to implement an easy-to-use and secure way of providing multifactor authentication practices. As an authentication technique, however, multifactor authentication is vastly superior to passwords.

The Entrust IdentityGuard system addresses all of these problems. This product brings together ease of administration, flexibility, ease of use for users, and low overall cost for the organization. Authentication methods offered include custom grid cards, tokens, knowledge-based user information and one-time passwords. The system can be set up to accommodate any combination of these in any order. The one-time passwords can be sent by email or to a mobile device, such as a cell phone or PDA. We found this product to be easy to deploy and manage. The software installed in just a few minutes and we were off and setting up users. Creating policy and assigning authentication processes is quick and easy as well, and users can enroll themselves if they choose.

Entrust is looking toward the idea of using the same strategies to possibly include biometric authentication methods as well. The key factor that makes Entrust and the IdentityGuard visionary is the ideology that multifactor authentication does not have to be complicated to manage or expensive to implement. With inexpensive custom-made grid cards and tokens that cost only about $5 a piece, we expect to see IdentityGuard in more places very soon. This addresses the need for multifactor authentication very nicely and has enabled implementations for over 60 million users.

What it is: A suite of multifactor authentication products
Vendor: Entrust -
Cost: $8.00 per user; average selling price: $1.40
Innovation: Ability to provide multifactor authentication products at extremely low cost and in very large quantities
What we liked: Variety of available approaches

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