BYOD becomes a bit more complicated when you work in an environment that requires stronger forms of authentication than a username and password combination. A close inspection of the iPhone or iPad reveals neither a fingerprint sensor nor a smart card reader, for example. Fortunately, vendors such as Thursby Software and Precise Biometrics have rushed in to fill the void.
Thursby Software's PKard Reader and Precise Biometrics' Tactivo support the major standard smart card formats including the CAC (Common Access Card) used by the U.S. military and DOD (Department of Defense). I tested the products by using an iPhone 4S and an iPad 2, both running iOS 6.1, to access a number of military and DOD websites that require CAC authentication.
[ Get expert advice about planning and implementing your BYOD strategy with InfoWorld's 29-page "Mobile and BYOD Deep Dive" PDF special report. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobilize newsletter. ]
Until the PKard Reader and Tactivo devices arrived for the iPhone and iPad, military and DOD personnel had to use either a PC or Mac to remotely access CAC-secured sites, even for Webmail, travel, and unclassified administrative tasks. As prices fall, these workers will be sorely tempted to buy one of these readers -- and so will many iPhone and iPad users in private sector companies that require smart card authentication.
Common capabilities and limitations
Thursby's PKard Reader and Precise Biometrics' Tactivo worked as advertised, allowing me to successfully check email on both the Navy Marine Corps Email and the Army Email AKO sites.
Note, however, that the Safari browser on the iPhone and iPad does not support smart card authentication. In order to facilitate browsing of websites that authenticate using smart cards or CACs, Thursby's PKard Reader and Precise Biometrics' Tactivo both include Thursby's free PKard Reader app. (Military and DOD and government personnel will like that the PKard Reader app lets you bookmark commonly used CAC-required sites, organized in service favorite folders such as Navy Sites, Army Sites, Air Force Sites, DOD Sites, Marine Corps Sites, Coast Guard, and Federal Government.)
Ease of use (30.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
|Precise Biometrics Tactivo for iPad and iPhone||8.0||8.0||5.0||8.0|
|Thursby Software PKard Reader for iPad and iPhone||7.0||7.0||8.0||8.0|
Having trouble installing and setting up Win10? You aren’t alone. Here are many of the most common...
It's all about knowing how to build an open source community -- plus experience running applications in...
Win7 Update scans got you fuming? Here’s how to make the most of Microsoft’s 'magic' speed-up patch
Can you really use Google’s G Suite instead of Microsoft Office? Here's how they compare on Windows,...
These were heralded as impressive new gotta-have-it features, but in hindsight, they're pretty useless ...
From shape-shifting furniture to holographic displays, the workplace of the future promises more than...
Once again, Microsoft cuts corners on user interface, functionality, and cross-platform support. Will...