What is authentication?


Traditionally, authentication is about restricting network and data access to authorized users. It asks, “Do I know you?” The simplest form of authentication is a password. Among the more sophisticated forms are:

  • Digital certificate: A kind of electronic credit card that establishes your credentials when you do business on the web
  • OTP: That is, one-time password, a randomly generated password that works only once
  • Smart card: This resembles a credit card, but it’s embedded with a microchip that securely stores user credentials

All of these have problems. Passwords can be forgotten or stolen. Software-based digital certificates can be hacked. OTPs are hard to memorize. Smart cards are expensive and can get lost. But there’s a larger problem:

User ID is not enough anymore

The traditional forms of authentication are all just variations on one thing: user identification. Why is that a problem?

The consumerization of IT means that more devices than ever are connecting to your network. In a 2011 global survey, 88 percent of executives said that their employees were using personal devices for work. That trend is only projected to grow. If your organization is like most, it’s embracing anywhere access for the productivity gains. But are you comfortable with employees accessing your network with devices you know nothing about? More than half of global companies report that they’ve experienced a security breach as a result of personal devices.

Meanwhile, data theft is on the rise. Are you comfortable with just user ID between your data and the hackers?

Wave’s solution: start with the device

The Wave approach lets you confirm the identity of both user and device. That gives you a much-needed additional level of security. We do it using the Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs), or security chips, that are already embedded in many laptops, phones, etc., and that identify them individually. When you turn them on and manage them with Wave software, you know not only who is on your network, but also with what. Maybe the user is authorized to get on, but if the specific device isn’t authorized as well, they’re out of luck.

We cost less too. Wave works on your existing hardware, across platforms. That’s because our solutions are based on an open standard that’s already been implemented on 600 million–plus laptops and is now working its way onto mobile devices. Our software is all you need to reach a whole new level of security. It’s one of the big reasons why total cost of ownership can be almost half that of a traditional software-based system that doesn’t even give you strong authentication.

Heads-up: Wave supports Windows 8

Windows 8 offers important new security features. You’ll upgrade eventually. With Wave you can start taking advantage of the security hardware you already have, and when you make the transition to Windows 8, it will be seamless.