KVM Smart Card Authentication Best Practices
While many organizations have employed smart card identification to enhance their physical security infrastructure, KVM (Keyboard, Video & Mouse) system users in particular can benefit greatly from the two-factor authentication that a smart card inherently provides to the logical realm (access to software and application systems on servers). However, whereas a physical security system that incorporates smart cards is straightforward to implement, logical security using PKI-based authentication (Public Key Infrastructure) incurs very specific practical obstacles during implementation in a data center, network operating center, lab or any facility that relies on a KVM system for efficient operation. While smart card readers themselves are inexpensive, 1-to-1 mapping of card readers to server hardware neutralizes many of the efficiencies that a high-density server environment with few user touchpoints provides. IT managers thus face a difficult decision: greater security or greater convenience. A similar problem has been faced previously. Before the modern server boom, most computer rooms employed a keyboard and monitor for each server � a 1-to-1 mapping. But KVM switching technology later eliminated this inefficient deployment, allowing one set of keyboard, monitor and mouse peripherals to be deployed to many servers at once. By extending its peripheral set to include card readers, modern KVM switches with smart card capabilities can allow data center managers to enjoy the best of both worlds: greater security and greater convenience.