Information delivery company Colt has announced it is using Cryptocard’s authentication-as-a-service platform, BlackShield Cloud, to provide secure remote access to its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) for up to 5,000 employees.

Blackshield Cloud provides Colt’s staff with a unique one-time-use password, via an application on their smartphone device or key fob, every time they remotely log on to their virtual desktop. This enables Colt to deliver strong authentication to its employees across a range of devices.

As well as improving security, Cryptocard claims that the automated provisioning provided by its Blackshield Cloud platform can reduce total cost of ownership by 60 percent.

“Companies are quickly recognising that strong authentication can protect them against unauthorised access to their corporate networks, cloud-based services and web applications, but service providers have been left cold due to the cost and complexity of delivering it,” said Gary Marsden, vice president of Cryptocard's managed services business.

Marsden explained that Cryptocard’s Blackshield SaaS-based authentication delivers an exceptionally low cost of ownership because, under Cryptocard’s licensing model, the tokens don’t expire after three years, meaning that software and SMS tokens can be reassigned.

The company's authentication-as-a-service platform will not only support internal employees, but also supplement Colt’s existing Managed Secure Authentication offering, providing a scalable platform to provision millions of its integrated computing and network services customers.

“Identity theft is a significant threat to enterprises and strong authentication can play a key role in mitigating it,” said Stefano Maifreni, solutions marketing manager at Colt. “That is why Colt is rolling out Cryptocard’s cloud-based authentication platform internally as part of our virtual desktop programme and delivering it to our customers, irrespective of their geography, size and infrastructure or their computing and mobile device use.”

While most security companies now recommend using strong authentication to protect sensitive company data, there is still a great deal of resistence within some enterprises. In a survey of 100 senior IT staff by security company GrIDsure last April, nearly 60 percent said they were worried about the complexity if two-factor authentication, and more than half said it would be expensive to implement.

Despite this, there does seem to be some appetite for layered authentication, with 36 percent convinced that authentication will become a big factor in securing employee access. A further 32 percent favoured employee education, with seven percent open to the 'nuclear option' of banning remote access altogether.

because under CRYPTOCARD’s licensing model the tokens don’t expire after three years