RSA brings SecurID tokens to smartphones

BYOD spawns one more factor for second factor phones.

Enterprise mobile device management vendor Good Technology will soon begin to offer RSA dongle two-factor authentication for Android and iOS mobile applications.

Good Technology will integrate RSA’s Authentication Manager and Secure Authentication Engine technology to deliver dongle-based one-time password authentication for mobile applications running Good Technology’s government and enterprise management suites.

The partnership will see RSA’s recently hacked SecureID tokens act as the new second factor for smartphones, which themselves have been shaping up as a second factor authentication device for PCs.

The pairing is meant to deal with the erosion of mobile devices as a reliable “second factor”, which in the context of online banking has seen the devices receive an SMS one-time password to authenticate a transaction conducted on a PC.

For medium level security, this model will continue to work, but for high-level security, such as mobile device access to the corporate network, it won’t be good enough because mobile devices will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide by 2014, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Of course, the Good RSA partnership will also address security concerns stemming from the “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomenon, a xhot topic at this year’s RSA conference, and one that is regarded by some security professionals as a hornet’s nest of trouble.

Scot A Terban, the purported identity behind the security blog Kryptia reckons BYOD is a recipe for a security professional’s nervous breakdown.

The key issue is that a personal device is not a company’s asset, giving rise to serious security but legal complexities.

On the business front, people will want to use a personal device how they see fit, which is likely at odds with corporate policy and to patch this mismatch, companies will need to boost security spending potentially to the extent that it erodes any cost savings derived from BYOD in the first place.

The key legal issues Terban raises include conducting e-discovery – court ordered document rummaging – privacy, and uncertainties over who owns what intellectual property on personal assets.

Nonetheless, the phenomenon will give vendors a new risk to sell against.

"The widespread adoption of 'bring-your-own-device' programs combined with the increasing rate of corporate network threats from mobile devices makes the need for application security controls even more important," said Nicko van Someren, chief technology officer of Good Technology.

"Our technology integration with RSA will allow enterprises to deploy enhanced levels of security without increasing complexity designed to enable a simplified yet secure mobile user experience that will help enhance employee productivity while keeping corporate information secure."

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