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Smartphones take center stage in two-factor authentication schemes

SecureAuth IdP wins test of 8 software-based authentication systems that deliver enterprise-level security

By David Strom, Network World
May 20, 2013 06:01 AM ET

Page 5 of 9

Overall, we think this is fine for Windows-only shops, and the variety of second factor methods is impressive. But for other purposes, this might not be your first choice. The cost for a 100-token configuration ranges from $15 to $25 per token per year, depending on the length of the total contract. This includes daytime business support hours.  

RSA Authentication Manager v8

RSA is the market leader with hardware tokens, and with this latest version of its Authentication Manager, it has caught up with the soft token space as well. The problem is the large collection of software components that are required: besides the Authentication Manager, there is also the Adaptive Federation Manager used for SAML logins, agents for Web servers (including a Microsoft Management Console snap-in), and the self-service user portal.  Most have Web-based front ends. They can be installed as VMs (which is how we tested them) or running on an appliance. Authentication Manager has a very wide collection of supported applications that can be protected with a variety of soft and hard tokens for desktops and phones.  

New to this version is its dashboard, which provides a consolidated view of a particular user, what tokens they have assigned, what groups they belong to, what protected resources they can access and what authentication activity they have performed in the last seven days. Navigating around the admin console is still somewhat painful, given the numerous configuration options.

Authentication Manager can be set up for some very complex token approval workflows, reflecting its hardware heritage where third-party partners supplied tokens. This can be useful if you want lost or additional token requests to be approved by administrators.

Reports are one of the weak areas of the product: while numerous, most are glorified log files, but they can be scheduled and exported in numerous formats. There are also real-time monitors of authentication and system activities.

The cost for a 100-token configuration is $15,325, and that assumes a mixture of hard and software tokens.  The base price starts at $8,500, and tokens cost $17 per year and up, depending on what form they take. This was the highest-price spread, and given the number of capable alternatives that cost a lot less, you might want to shop around if price is an issue.

SafeNet Authentication Service

SafeNet is one of the most flexible products we saw: it comes as a cloud-based service (which is what we tested), an appliance or as a collection of Windows Server 2008 software. Along with the server piece, there are numerous software agents that need to be set up for particular servers. And it supports both SAML and Radius identity stores, including Microsoft AD, Novell eDirectory and SunOne. It works with a wide and diverse token collection, including hard tokens and soft tokens for Windows and Mac desktops and smartphones, as well as using SMS messages.

SafeNet has the most extensive policies, role assignments and user groups of any of the products we tested, so you can set up different authentication levels for different individuals and groups.

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