The SafeWord PremierAccess product immediately impresses as a solution that has been well considered from the outset. Developed around the dynamic password concept, it may nevertheless support smartcards and other tokens, and even biometrics. These methodologies may be mixed and matched depending upon the needs of the enterprise.
The dynamic password functionality offered here is interesting in itself. Rather than use a time-dependent approach (as is used, for example, by the RSA SecurID tokens) PremierAccess employs an event-synchronous methodology, whose advantages include reduced administration as tokens do not drift out of synchronization with the server, and longer token life as tokens do not need to be continually powered. This is an elegant approach to the use of dynamic passwords, which should also prove quite user friendly in terms of few visible problems.
The PremierAccess server components are compatible with a range of security architectures and associated components, while 'agents' enable interaction with a variety of services. This is supported with comprehensive printed installation guides, provided for both Windows and Solaris. These guides are complemented by an excellent and clear administration guide, as well as information on the two CD-ROMs. This all serves to reinforce the impression of a professional and well-considered product.
A selection of physical tokens were supplied for evaluation, all of which looked as though they would survive a real world operational environment quite happily. As if this was not enough, Secure Computing Corp. have another trick up their sleeve in the form of MobilePass. This enables one-time passwords to be communicated as text messages to mobile phones and PDAs, thus eliminating the need for physical tokens completely while providing all the advantages of dynamic password security. One could foresee many instances where such functionality could prove invaluable.
Overall, the flexibility offered by this package is impressive, as is the professionalism inherent in the supporting materials, right down to the company web site which offers a wealth of associated information in addition to the expected software patches and updates.
A systems administrator entering this area for the first time would no doubt find this approach somewhat reassuring as they develop their own expertise and associated solution over a period of time.