How To Achieve 100% NHS Smartcard Reliability
Do you long for the day when smartcards work perfectly or are even a thing of the past? Is it frustrating when smartcard authentication fails for no apparent reason? NHS Smartcard Reliability is a problem for many, but it’s not something you just have to put up with anymore.
We’ve been working with the NHS for fifteen years now and originated from an IT security background around smartcards and secure authentication. We have over 40,000 iO users (our smartcard identity agent) and as a result have seen thousands of local use-cases for the NHS smartcard, some hugely successful… some not so much.
If you’ve somehow wandered here by accident and aren’t sure what we’re talking about, NHS smartcards are similar to chip and pin cards that allow our healthcare professionals here in the UK to access the patient information that’s relevant to their role. Smartcard authentication is required for access to clinical applications – no smartcard authentication, no access.
Historically, smartcards have been seen as a hindrance – they can slow down the process of clinicians getting access to a patient’s records in potentially critically time-sensitive situations, albeit in the name of security. But, they can fail to authenticate for what appears to be no explicable reason. Sometimes, it will fail two or three times and then just work.
This centres around the cumbersome and slow process but also because a physical smartcard with a physical reader can be prone to glitches.
Would it surprise you to know that up to 20% of smartcard authentications fail because of the physical nature of smartcards and readers? Although it may not come as a total surprise, I suspect most of you don’t know what the failure rate is in your specific trust?
If you use iO Identity Agent, you can find this out by visiting our Analytics Portal which we introduced in March last year. Analytics allows managers to view all the data that is passively collected through iO like which cards fail most frequently, or which devices and precisely how long each authentication takes.
What Can You Do About Your NHS Smartcards?
We repeatedly heard about smartcard frustrations from our users and as a result developed iO Virtual Smartcard. Virtual Smartcard solves both cumbersome and temperamental problems by virtualising the smartcard into the Cloud. When linked to a user’s Active Directory account, you can simply log in to Windows and become simultaneously authenticated. As the process is virtual, there are no physical gremlins to interfere with now defunct card or reader.
What’s more, our Analytics Portal can show unequivocal data of the much improved Launch Time (Windows logon to clinical application being ready) and also 100% reliability on Virtual Smartcard authentication.