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Going Green By Cutting Costs

Going green need not be a costly option, if IT departments take the environmental mantra ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ to heart when planning their IT security, according to Reading-based software company, SecurEnvoy.

Instead of buying and distributing security tokens to their workforce, companies should look at the equipment they already have, particularly mobile phones, to make carbon and cost savings.

Tokens are widely used to provide an extra layer of security for corporate systems and data. In addition to logging in with a user name and password, users must also type in a number on the token that is regularly updated. However, the carbon emissions and the costs involved in manufacturing and distributing tokens can be significant, especially as they are easily lost and need to be regularly replaced.

SecurEnvoy, whose products enable mobile phones to be used as ‘virtual’ tokens, has launched an online calculator to measure the environmental impact of the distribution of standard security tokens. As an example it has calculated that each time hardware tokens are delivered to 3,000 employees, it can take 1,800 trees one year to offset the carbon from the distribution process. Since tokens are easily lost and frequently misplaced, the amount of CO2 emitted keeps increasing.

That same company of 3,000 users can save approximately 65 per cent of the cost of the hardware alternatives by using mobile phones instead of physical tokens.

Steve Watts, sales director at SecurEnvoy said, “When we looked into this we were quite surprised by the results we got – and these calculations don’t even begin to take into consideration the CO2 emissions from the manufacture of the tokens, or their eventual disposal. Delivery from manufacturer to purchaser normally constitutes a journey across three continents, with five stops along the way before it reaches the end user.

“This is in addition to the carbon produced by the manufacturing process, which uses plastic, smelting procedures, batteries and quartz, which all have toxic elements. As tokens contain LCD screens and other hazardous materials, firms are legally obliged to collect all tokens at the end of their life and dispose of them properly.”

With SecurEnvoy’s SecurAccess family of products, IT managers can save money and cut carbon emissions without compromising security.

It authenticates users by sending a passcode to their mobile phones that is replaced once it is used. It provides a second layer of security after PINs and passwords, and enables users to maintain the recognised standards for two-factor authentication: something you know (a PIN) and something you have (the number on the phone). With SecurAccess there is no need to buy, implement and replace extra pieces of equipment.

Watts says: “Our customers have told us that our products are both convenient and cost-effective and that is why they chose them. But now it seems that there is another extremely compelling reason to look at alternatives to security tokens.”

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.