Strengths: Leverages a user’s phone for strong authentication.
Weaknesses: Slightly difficult to configure.
Verdict: A novel approach to authentication that is easy to deploy and has a good feature set.
SummaryPhoneFactor provides the addition of second-factor authentication using something everyone has: This product uses a phone as a token. With this solution, users can enlist their phone to provide a second factor of authentication through a call, text message or even voice recognition. This also provides full, out-of-band security and can be used both inside and outside of the enterprise. For inside the organization, PhoneFactor can be used to authenticate to custom-sensitive applications, as well as many already existing applications, using RADIUS, Microsoft IIS and Windows-based authentication. For outside, it can be used to integrate with web-based applications, such as online banking and other account management applications for customers. This provides strong authentication at no extra cost to the user.
This tool consists of two major components: The first is the PhoneFactor service. This is hosted by the company in a data center. The second part is the agent. This is installed on the customer site - or as part of the customer's cloud - and is used as a way to integrate PhoneFactor with applications and user accounts.
Once the agent is deployed, it can synchronize with Microsoft Active Directory or LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol), which makes integration into an existing environment quite seamless. There is also a full, web-based user portal available as an optional third component. Users can access this portal for self-enrollment and other account management tasks. From the user side, we found this product to be well integrated and easy to use. New users can receive an automated email directing them to the user portal where they verify their phone number and complete a set of personalized security questions. Once that is complete, the user is enrolled and can begin using the product.
From an administration standpoint, this solution offers not only several integration options, but we found it easy to use and manage. While it did take a little bit of experimenting on our part, we found that this product can be quite powerful and can plug into almost any application. The agent itself does not require a high amount of system resources, so it can be deployed easily on almost any available server in the enterprise.
Documentation included implementation and quick-start guides. The quick-start guide provided all the steps to get the agent installed, as well as some brief instructions for configuring the applications to be secured with the product. The implementation guide provides a much more in-depth look at how to integrate and manage the product.
PhoneFactor provides customers with standard and extended editions of gold level support as part of the license cost. Gold level support includes 8 a.m.-6 p.m. phone and email technical support. Customers can purchase platinum level assistance - which includes 24/7 availability - at an extra 10 percent cost of the license. We found minimal help via the website, other than a FAQ section and a few technical resources.
At a price ranging from $10 to $25 per user, we find this to be a good value for the money. PhoneFactor provides solid integration features that are easy to deploy to users through their own phones.