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Smart cards, as with any system that requires a reader, are too expensive and simply don't work for today's multi-location, cross-enterprise networking needs.

In addition to being fairly expensive, Smart cards are impractical for traveling personnel, who won't want to carry a card reader with their laptop and won't be able to log in from a shared, public computer.

While the cost of smart-cards and readers may drop, consider that the cost of hardware is usually the smallest portion of the total cost of ownership. Typically maintenance is a much portion. Can you imagine trying to maintain a smart-card reader on the home machine of a non-employee? But that is just the kind of access that is expected today.

They also will prove awkward: Gartner recommends that smart-card reader be placed on the bathroom doors and on the copier so that people won't leave their smart-card in the reader on their PC. This requirement creates potentially embarrassing situation should a reader fail.

People mistakenly assume that they can combine their photo-ID badges and smart cards to save money. However, you don't want to have any identifying information on the smart card, except perhaps a PO Box and reward for return information.

Smart cards will never be a suitable form of strong authentication for consumer online banking due to these concerns.


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