BT has launched Managed Authentication, a new online service designed to offer large financial services companies and other organisations a scalable multi-factor authentication system to enhance customer security.
This latest addition to BT's Managed Security Solutions portfolio is the telco's first attempt at online authentication for high-volume business-to-consumer environments.
Financial services firms such as Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank are set to be the first to benefit, although other sectors including insurance or retail could follow, according to Peter Gunning, head of business development at BT Security.
The service is based on the principle of multi-factor authentication, BT providing a hardware- or software-based one-time password-generating token which can be rolled out by the client to customers.
The one-time passcode can then be used alongside traditional username and password authentication to boost security.
As part of the Managed Authentication service, BT will provide the one-time password device or software and process the authentication requests.
Options include a hardware token or card reader, software which can sit on an end user's PC or smartphone, or even an SMS-based service, Gunning explained.
"It's up to the industry which way they want to authenticate their customers. Not everyone wants to do it in the same way," he told V3.co.uk.
"The challenge for an e-commerce site, for example, is that its user base is more fickle and less loyal. Those firms are more likely to invest in a pay-as-you-go SMS model or software token because it's easier and cheaper to roll out."
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