Thursby Software, a longtime developer in the Apple enterprise and government markets, on Wednesday will announce PKard for iOS, a solution that provides a secure browser supporting a variety of card standards including the Department of Defense's Common Access Cards (CAC), the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Personal Identity Verification (PIV) and PIV-Interoperable certifications. The PKard software will support both its branded card reader as well as a variety of third-party card readers, company officials said.
The arrival of PKard for iOS leverages the company's more than six years experience with the technology, founder Bill Thursby said. He added that FIPS-140-2 Certification (Federal Information Processing Standard) for PKard for iOS is forthcoming.
Support for iOS devices wasn't a simple journey. Thursby told me that first getting support for Apple products from security card reader vendors was a "large chicken and egg problem" for a while. And then getting any product through Apple's complex Apple licensing and approval process isn't easy for any vendor. Finally, there was the testing for the entire hardware-software solution with the Apple Store and Apple's Quality Assurance process. Each step took some time.
Thursby's PKard Browser app will be available at the Apple App Store for $119. In addition, the company will sell a $149 bundle of its branded reader and a free license for PKard Browser, a version of the app that only supports the Thursby card reader.
There was hope several years ago that this level of support would come sooner. I wrote about how I had been contacted by a CTO of a federal agency looking for PIV support with iPhones. He said his agency had spent time and effort pitching upper-level management for the okay to use iPhones and finally, the approval had been received. But there was only support for RIM mobile solutions. I receive messages all the time about this question.
Meanwhile, Thursby last week announced Lion support in its ADmitMac PKI v4.0. The company said the package provides full network logon and integration with Single Sign-On (SSO), Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), Virtual Private Network (VPN), Microsoft Active Directory (AD), Microsoft Group Policy (GPO), Mac Work Group Manager (WgM) and network resources under Microsoft DFS and Microsoft SMB/CIFS. The software also includes deployment tools.