Multi-factor authentication describes applications where more than one credential technology is used for added security or convenience. It’s common sense, really: two credentials can be more secure than one.
That’s the concept behind multi-factor authentication. Facilities with unique or heightened security needs may wish to implement a multi-factor (or blended) credentials strategy.
As University of Virginia, Facilities & Systems Engineer, Office of Business Operations in Charlottesville, Va. Gary Conley, states, “We wanted a Grade 1 ANSI spec locking system with dual credentials – something the student had, their magnetic stripe ID card, plus something the student knew, a PIN – to get into (residence) halls and their rooms.”
In another example, a hospital may choose to require authorized personnel to present a key and a smart card and code to enter pharmaceutical storage areas. In doing so, they have additional protection against the use of lost or unauthorized credentials.
Sometimes the Right Credential is Several Credentials
There are other benefits to a blended credentials strategy as well. They provide the freedom to use a single credential on multiple kinds of readers.
For example, imagine a college that currently uses magnetic stripe, proximity and smart readers in different buildings across its campus. Without the cost of migrating to a campus-wide smart card system, they could issue each student a single card that works with each system – and doubles as a library card, meal card, and more.
Of course, there are a wide range of variables when it comes to multi-factor authentication. Your security consultant should be able to advise you.
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