Executive View

Indeed AirKey Enterprise

AirKey Enterprise is a software smart card platform that is 100% compatible with existing standards and APIs for traditional smart cards, enabling high security, low cost, and unified management of a hybrid smart card infrastructure.

Alexei Balaganski

ab@kuppingercole.com

1 Introduction

Indeed Identity is a software vendor specializing in account management and access control solutions. The company is privately held and is headquartered in Saint Petersburg, Russia, with several additional locations around the country as well as a European business office in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Founded in 2005 by a team of seasoned information security experts, Indeed Identity has been focusing on development of enterprise authentication solutions, offering a broad portfolio of solutions for smart card management, multifactor authentication and single sign-on. Since 2009, the company is serving a substantial number of large Russian enterprise customers including the country’s leading oil and gas corporations, large banks and telecommunications providers. The company’s technology platform comprises dozens of functional components, supports over 20 authentication methods and provides integrations with multiple technological partners’ solutions. The most recent addition to the platform is the AirKey technology – a software smart card that supports all functionality of traditional physical smart cards.

For large and small enterprises alike, smart cards have been a key part of their security and identity management infrastructures for over two decades. They are widely used for such operations like two-factor authentication, digital signatures, data encryption or single sign-on. Smart cards are an integral part of every enterprises’ Public Key Infrastructure. Thanks to the maturity and highly standardized nature of public key infrastructures (and a large number of legacy business applications tied into them), enterprise IT departments continue to rely on the proven technology, but they are feeling an increasing pressure from businesses to modernize the existing processes, support new device platforms, deliver better user experience and, last but not least, reduce the costs and administration efforts needed to manage and support the whole lifecycle of traditional hardware authentication devices.

One radical approach to address these needs is to replace physical smart cards with a software-based technology. Software smart cards allow PKI to be implemented in a much more flexible way without costly hardware and logistics. However, finding the right balance between security and convenience is a tough challenge. Although quite a few vendors are currently offering software-based solutions for public key infrastructures, they can easily have various drawbacks like insufficient cryptographic strength, incompatibility with existing systems and applications or lack of third party integrations.

With their AirKey Enterprise product, Indeed Identity is aiming to address all these challenges and to offer a software-based virtual smart card platform, which is 100% compatible with existing standards and APIs and thus transparently supports all operations available to physical smart cards. Since the solution is server-based and no private keys are ever stored on clients, this ensures that the cryptographic strength of virtual smart cards cannot be compromised by a malware or a hacker. The server also provides a complete audit trail for all operations.

Combined with a universal Card Management solution that allows managing both physical and virtual smart cards from a single administration console, Indeed AirKey Enterprise can address a small company’s need to deploy a public key infrastructure without significant costs, but will provide substantial reduction of costs and administration efforts for an existing smart card-based infrastructure in a large enterprise as well.

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