Replacing lost physical authentication tokens can lose months for IT departments.

A survey of 300 IT managers found that 12 per cent of respondents waste months recovering and replacing lost physical authentication tokens. A further ten per cent said that they waste weeks, 13 per cent lose days, while 16 per cent were able to contain this to a matter of hours.

Andy Kemshall, CTO and co-founder of SecurEnvoy, that conducted the survey, said: “Organisations invest huge sums of money in out-dated technology that has stood still while the world has moved on.

“We advocate the use of mobile phones, which can be turned into an authentication device eliminating many of the management costs associated with 2FA systems. Our mantra is simple: authenticate anyone, anywhere, any phone – simply and securely.”

In terms of lost tokens, the research found that in a typical 12-month period, seven per cent of respondents were losing between half and three-quarters of their tokens, 14 per cent lost between a quarter and a half, while 13 per cent lost between 11 per cent and 25 per cent. A third (32 per cent) of companies recorded losing ten per cent of their tokens.

Dave Abraham, CEO of two-factor authentication (2FA) managed service provider Signify, recently told SC Magazine that the use of tablets, smartphones and applications is driving a demand for soft token technology.

He said: “We are seeing a big uptake of password-on-demand (via SMS), [it] makes up to ten per cent of our businesses, but soft tokens are better as it doesn't matter if you have no coverage and we have seen these taking off a lot over the last few years. Since the start of the millennium, soft tokens have been the same but smartphones have got smarter and faster.”

Abraham said soft tokens account for 50 per cent of new deployments and for existing customers, soft tokens account for 15 per cent of new business. However users opt for a combination of technologies in order for them to offer remote working capabilities for key workers.