GSA studies smart card value
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Aug 25, 2000
The General Services Administration has hired a contractor to study the
cost and benefits of using PKI-enabled smart cards for federal applications.
The Office of Electronic Commerce within GSA's Office of Governmentwide
Policy has tasked Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. with developing a model
business case for using smart cards as the vehicle for public-key infrastructure
technology. A draft of the report is due tod
A PKI-enabled smart card
stores the digital certificates used to identify and authenticate a user
to an application. Such hardware-based certificates are generally accepted
as more secure than software-based certificates, which are normally stored
on a user's hard drive or a server.
The report will detail the current use of PKI on smart cards in government
and compare the cost and benefits of smart cards with other hardware and
software PKI solutions, said Marion A. Royal, an agency expert in GSA's
Office of Governmentwide Policy.
Once the final study is published in November, Royal said he hopes it
will help agencies decide if "now's the time" to invest in the smart card-based
solution. It also could help drive business to GSA's three-month-old Smart
Access Common Identification contract, he said. The contract offers smart
cards and services to support multiple federal applications, such as personal
identification and access to buildings and computers, on a single card.
"As agencies look to that vehicle, [I] hope that this business model
is something they can show to managers as justification with moving forward
with smart cards," Royal said.
GSA is conducting the study for the CIO Council's Enterprise Interoperability
and Emerging Information Technology Committee.