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Sat 21 Oct 2006 12:00 AM

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Aramco marks security cards

OIL giant Saudi Aramco isto equip 45,000 employees with IT authentication devices in a multimillion dollar deal aimed at increasing security and cutting costs.

The firm has purchased ActivIdentity’s Enterprise Access Ca- rd (EAC) solution — a smart card — which employees can use to log onto their PCs and access applications on the network.

The EAC solution consolidates employee credentials onto a single, secure smart card providing a photo ID as well as a security device that enables secure Windows and network login, PC ‘locking’, secure remote access virtual private network (VPN), secure e-mail with digital signatures, and single sign-on to enterprise and desktop applications.

Employees can also access buildings and other facilities with the same cards.

Initially the cards will be issued to around 45,000 Aramco employees around the world —an implementation process that is expected to be completed by the first half of next year.

According to Marc Hudavert, general manager at ActivIdentity, the EAC solution will be gradually rolled out to employees across the rest of the organisation if the initial deployment is successful.

He said that, although security is a major driver behind Aramco’s decision to deploy the technology, the main benefit it will gain would be the ease of use for employees.

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