Friday, December 12, 2008

Cool Technology of the Week

Given our new 2009 Massachusetts Data Protection regulations, I've been focusing on cool technologies related to information security such as Lo-Jack for Laptops/Blackberries and Third Brigade's Host-based intrusion protection.

Completing the triad of security postings, my cool technology of the week is the Bio-key fingerprint biometrics authentication system, an authentication solution that is my favorite candidate for two factor authentication, such as will likely be required by the Drug Enforcement Agency for e-prescribing of controlled substances.

We're testing their Web-Key product which provides a browser plug in for the most popular browsers and interfaces with any fingerprint reader. Our implementation of the software development kit eliminates the need to use passwords and connects our Emergency Department Dashboard web application, our authentication/authorization web service and a fingerprint reader.

Here's the challenge we've had with authentication in the Emergency Department.

Per my recent post about application timeouts, clinicians in the Emergency Room are moving fast from workstation to workstation. The time to sign in can impact their productivity. However, we need to protect patient confidentiality, so we cannot leave workstations logged on.

Ideally, a clinician should be able to walk up to computer, open a browser, wave their finger over a reader, and get instant access to applications. The Web-Key client is easy to deploy. Once you download their applet it autodetects the fingerprint reader and the client pops up in the browser, offering seamless integration with the web application. It works just as well in Firefox as it does Internet Explorer.

Simple to implement, standards-based, and easy to use biometric authentication - that's cool!
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