RSA gives SMBs enterprise-class alternative to reliance on passwords

2 Dec 2011

RSA Authentication Manager Express, an authentication solution designed to meet the cost and convenience requirements of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), has been revealed by RSA, EMC’s security division.

The same risk-based RSA technology used to protect millions of online transactions every day and more than 250m identities worldwide is being made available in a package that businesses of any size can use.

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Today’s organisations are faced with the challenges of an increasingly mobile workforce, stricter regulations, and advanced threats that target sensitive information and intellectual property.

Both industry researchers and real-world security breach events have demonstrated that weak, password-only protection is no match for savvy cyber criminals and cannot be considered an effective method of preventing unauthorised users from accessing company resources.  

RSA Authentication Manager Express is a risk-based and on-demand authentication system designed for organisations to provide up to 2,500 end users with secure access to data and business applications through SSL Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and online portals.

The system employs an intelligent risk engine engineered to provide invisible, behind-the-scenes protection of web-based resources against unauthorised access. Users continue to employ their standard username and password. Security is stepped up when the risk engine detects abnormal behaviour, requiring users to correctly answer personal challenge questions and/or enter SMS- or email-delivered one-time pass codes before access is granted.

“There has always been a need for strong authentication in small and mid-size organisations, yet adoption has been slow because most offerings have fallen short of meeting the cost and convenience needs of these customers,” said Sally Hudson, research analyst at IDC.

“Previous enterprise-class solutions have traditionally been too costly to deploy and manage for smaller organisations; cheaper alternatives lacked end-user convenience and didn’t provide multi-layered protection,” Hudson said.

“RSA Authentication Manager Express combines the best of RSA’s expertise and innovation in enterprise and consumer authentication technology to provide the right balance of security, simplicity and features required by smaller organisations.”

Tom Corn, chief strategy officer for RSA, said strong authentication has become a business requirement that is often mandated by regulations which apply to organisations of every size.

“Building on more than 25 years of innovation and leadership, we’ve engineered the RSA Authentication Manager Express solution to provide enterprise-class identity protection and security while also meeting vital ease of deployment, cost and end-user convenience requirements of SMBs,” said Corn.

“The solution also demonstrates a compelling model and vision for securing access to web-based applications and resources using smartphones and mobile devices that have become a mainstay for business end users.”

Michael O’Hara, managing director, DataSolutions, added, “This innovative solution from RSA will offer great benefits to small and mid-sized organisations as they seek to implement security measures that will meet the increasing regulatory requirements while simultaneously managing costs. The simplicity and ease-of-use of RSA Authentication Manager Express will be particularly attractive to this market.”

Easy transition from password-only to strong authentication

RSA Authentication Manager Express helps organisations ensure the highest confidence that only approved users are accessing data and applications without inconveniencing them. The solution offers an easy way for organisations – including those that have never deployed multi-factor authentication in their environments – to implement a stronger and more secure alternative to password-only protection within a solution that is easily installed and requires near-zero ongoing management.

Additional benefits include:

  • Proven technology that can be tailored to an organisation’s resource constraints, risk tolerance, and the profile of its users.
  • Layered approach for added strength of security; is invisible to end-users unless authentication is outside of established policy.
  • Nothing for end users to manage, making it ideal for employee, partner and client/customer use cases. Seamless integration with leading SSL VPNs and web servers requiring minimal IT resources.
  • Audit capabilities help organisations track what users are accessing to meet changing compliance regulations; canned reports help simplify proving compliance.

RSA Authentication Manager Express will be generally available in March 2011 through authorised RSA resellers and distributors.

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