It’s a good idea to have a Common Access Card (CAC) reader on hand for travel or if you are going to be away from the office for a long period of time. You never know when your profile information with your company or government agency sends crucial emails or notifications that you should be aware of. To stay informed and up to date with taskers or emails regarding your career, it’s wise to have a smartcard and CAC reader with you. CAC cards are part of the CIA triad, as something you have. A CAC card acts as a token to authenticate to webservers to access company or government information.
To use a CAC card on your personal computer, you will need to have the required components needed to authenticate and be granted access to vital resources. You will need to have a token, which is your smart card, a smart card reader, and software.
There are many stores that sell CAC card readers. You can buy a common CAC card reader for your smartcard from the BX, or from Wal-Mart or office supply stores. These readers connect to your computer using a USB connection. CAC readers are compact by design and simple to install.
The single most important component to have when using your smartcard on your personal machine is to have the right software installed. Ask your company for the required version of software needed to access information. Active Client is a common CAC reader software used to establish an encrypted connection. You will also need to have the right driver software installed on your computer. Be sure to download and install the correct driver or your smartcard reader will be rendered useless.
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