What Are Virtual Smart Cards?

In the world of authentication cybersecurity, a device growing in popularity is the Smart Card. A smart card, like those produced by Yubico, is a cryptographic tool that allows users to securely authenticate their identity.

It can be used for physical security, limiting who can enter a secured area, or for securing wireless network access. But as with all technology, it continues to advance and change, and a new trend is the use of virtual smart cards for device security.

black android smartphone beside black laptop computer

What Is a Virtual Smart Card?

A virtual smart card works similarly to a traditional smart card. It is a cryptographic processor or chip, but a virtual smart card has this information stored within a device.

The virtual smart card works based on a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). A TPM is a secure cryptoprocessor on the device that is designed to secure hardware by generating cryptographic keys. The encrypted keys produced are used to authenticate the identity of device and user.

Advantages From a Virtual Smart Card

For the purpose of authentication, one of the most common and effective uses of virtual smart cards is for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Using multiple layers of security is key to maintaining network integrity, and a virtual smart card satisfies the “something you have” factor in authentication.

A virtual smart card can be more effective than a physical one because it can easily interface with both operating systems and cryptographic key storage without additional hardware. The authentication factor is enabled right on the device.

Because they are virtual, they can lower the costs associated with physical smart cards. There’s no need to purchase additional smart card hardware or smart card readers for physical security. The costs of virtual smart cards are also lowered due to the reduced labor in setup and management over time. Provisioning software can be used to configure them and you don’t have to deal with the risk of lost smart cards.

A Smart Card Solution with SecureW2

Similar to smart cards, virtual smart cards can be outfitted with a digital certificate to identify both device and user during the authentication process. SecureW2 can equip any PIV-enabled smart cards with a certificate, as well as the infrastructure needed to distribute and manage them.

Our turnkey PKI allows for easy management of certificates from distribution to expiration. Admins can quickly view all certificates and identify who is actively accessing their network. The management portal also provides the tools for remote troubleshooting in the case of authentication errors.

Our Cloud RADIUS enables MFA and can authenticate devices and OS from all major vendors. This vendor-neutral solution is great for both BYOD-based organizations, and for those with managed device solutions available to users. Industry-first dynamic authentication also allows admins to edit a user’s network policies in real-time without having to replace each certificate they have on various devices and smart cards.

SecureW2’s Yubikey Certificate Management Solution (CMS) was developed to automatically equip smart card devices with a digital certificate. Without an onboarding software, most users end up lost or confused by the certificate provisioning process and lead to numerous IT support tickets. Our onboarding software guides end users through a foolproof enrollment process that takes just minutes to complete.

Secure authentication through the use of smart cards has never been easier than with virtual smart cards. They can be used for a wide variety of authentication needs, such as wireless networks, desktop login, and VPN services. Check out SecureW2’s pricing page to see if our smart card solutions can provide secure authentication for your organization.

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from SecureW2 authored by Jake Ludin. Read the original post at: