Logical access: protecting data and networks

In today’s digital and connected World, securing electronic data and networks is as important as securing access to physical assets such as building and facilities. Password-based access is now widely acknowledged to be a significant security risk and many organisations, across all industries, are using multi-factor authentication to grant access to data.

Multi-factor can be a combination of something you know (i.e. a password) with something you have (e.g. an authenticated smart card) and something you are (a biometric such as fingerprint). ID cards can support all of these authentication methods, with all factors contained on the chip of a single card, enabling flexible, secure and private access to data and networks.

Here are some ways logical access can be applied across different industries.

Corporate

Access to corporate data and networks via desktop PCs, laptops and mobile devices can be granted, monitored and protected using a logical access control system (LACS). A separate application can be written on to the chip of the card alongside the physical access application to enable this. Normally, a terminal attached to the network access point or a reader within the hardware itself will securely read keys and data from the card. This can sometimes be coupled with a password, or for three-factor authentication to highly secure or sensitive company information.

Education

By adding a logical access application to a student or staff ID card, educational establishments can grant access and monitor use of electronic data such as coursework, e-learning resources and even examination submissions. Other IT assets such as printers, Internet browsing or email communications can also be secured and monitored with this method.

Government

Access to information is a fundamental citizen’s right in a functioning democratic society. Locally or nationally-issued citizen ID cards can be used to help gain access to general information such as e-learning resources, community events or available benefits. A smart card with the appropriate secure keys and logical access application can also be used online by citizens to access, update or amend personal information held about themselves by government organisations.

Facilities

Employees can be granted access to specialist equipment such as security scanners, IT terminals and traffic control equipment by the use of logical access control linked to a secure ID smart card. Electronic keys encoded on to the card’s chip, sometimes combined with a password or biometric can be used to unlock access to critical equipment for those that are permitted to use it. Access can be revoked or granted at the touch of a button.

About the author

Clare Lamb
By Clare Lamb

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