Tapping Into Better Network and Physical Security with Tap Authentication

Tap authentication improves user convenience while helping align information security and safety for healthcare facilities.

Physical safety and information security are critical needs in the modern healthcare setting, and providers must deliver both despite tightening regulations, decreasing reimbursement and other economic challenges. One of the most important new tools for ensuring both data and facility security is “tap” authentication, which simply means that a user can easily and conveniently access network resources, cloud apps and web-based services with a quick tap of his or her ID card to a laptop, tablet, phone or other NFC-enabled device.

Tap authentication offers an easier and more secure way to access these resources than using passwords, as well as a faster, more seamless and convenient solution than using dedicated hardware one-time passwords (OTPs) and display cards or other physical devices. Plus, there is the added benefit of being able to use the same card that opens doors to also access data and cloud-based applications.

Physical and Cyber Security Present a Growing Challenge
According to a recent IBM Security Services Cyber Security Intelligence Index Report, cyber threats – such as phishing schemes and malware – are costing organizations up to 19 percent in revenue, 21 percent in lost productivity and a 29 percent reduction in reputation management. Protecting access to corporate data is becoming ever more crucial.

At the same time, it is increasingly difficult to keep ahead of physical security threats. Implementing a physical access control system (PACS) in a hospital environment is complicated by the typically large campus size and often geographically dispersed nature of many facilities. Additionally, hospitals must support affiliated doctors who may work with many different institutions, requiring them to carry multiple badges for all the locations they visit.

Meeting these needs is difficult with a legacy PACS based on static, hard-to-upgrade technologies. This is why many hospitals are moving to new PACS solutions that are based on dynamic technologies, ensuring they are adaptable to the changing hospital needs and the latest best practices as security threats evolve.

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One of the biggest benefits of the latest PACS solutions is the improved security of contactless high frequency or micro-processor-based smart card technology. Today’s solutions feature mutual authentication and cryptographic protection mechanisms with secret keys. They employ a secure messaging protocol that is delivered on a trust-based communication platform within a secure ecosystem of interoperable products. This approach gives hospitals confidence that they can deliver the highest levels of security.

Another benefit of today’s PACS solutions is the ability to support many more access control applications on the same smart card – from access control for the parking lot, main door, emergency room and pharmacy, to visual ID verification, time-and-attendance, payroll transactions, cafeteria purchases and, now, tapping in and out of computer applications.

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