Arizona water group picks smart card

The Central Arizona Project (CAP), which manages a large part of the state's water supply, has opted for a turnkey smart card solution from Datakey Inc. to provide it with both physical security and logical network access control.

The card will satisfy that level of security and a new requirement that employees carry a picture ID at all times "without making the increased security burdensome for our employees," said Patrick McCabe, senior Unix and network administrator for CAP.

The combination of picture ID, contactless card technology and single sign-on for network access in an easily deployed package "reduces the hassle of increasing security," he said.

Datakey officials believe they have a potential winner in this all-in-one security package. The CAP announcement is just one of several company officials are working on currently, said Tim Russell, Datakey's president and chief executive, and these are an indication of what he sees as a broad trend in the market.

Many organizations, particularly within government, make do with limited information technology staff and increasingly smaller budgets, he said, so there's an increasing demand for a security solution that's both easy to deploy and manage over time.

There's still some confusion among potential users as to the ease with which smart card security can be implemented, Russell said, though at least now most people seem to be aware of smart cards themselves. The need now is to start talking about actual solutions, he said.

Datakey's Axis product was released in November and is just being rolled out now, mostly in pilot programs, McCabe said. However, he's pleased with the response so far by state and local governments, and he said Datakey will be first looking to larger counties, utilities and some city governments as initial Axis customers.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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