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BT said it chose ActivCard ahead of its long-standing security token supplier RSA to reduce the cost of network authentication for its staff working from any location.
BT employees will use a variety of ActivCard security tokens, including key-fob-style devices that deliver randomly selected number passwords that are typed in by users; tokens that plug into USB ports; and smartcards. ActivCard's general manager Marc Hudavert said, "We won on flexibility and price."
Ashok Patel, BT's strategy manager for internet and distributed technology, said, "We were impressed by the richness of function, the simplicity of architecture and the total cost of ownership of the ActivCard solution."
BT has already distributed more than 25,000 tokens to staff, whose authentication is controlled by the ActivCard AAA server technology. The list price of the BT deployment is more than £7m, but BT will receive a substantial discount.
BT is a long-standing advocate of network security token technology. It had been working with Microsoft on smartcard-type systems for the business market until Microsoft pulled out of the research in May 2001.
A spokeswoman for RSA said no one from the company was available for comment.