Why municipalities need new smart cards

Smart cards function with a variety of technologies, are cost-effective, and the issuer can have control over the contents. Many Swedish municipalities now want to replace the old Siths cards and are choosing smart cards that are more suitable for their activities.

Five years ago, every county and municipality wanted to get a SITHS card, which first and foremost would be used for logins. But the technology is already out of date, and now more and more municipalities are thinking about replacing their SITHS cards with more modern, smart cards. Kristinehamn municipality has chosen a way forward.

“I think that old technologies like SITHS are in the process of dying out”, says Stellan Sjögren, head of IT at Kristinehamn municipality.

Kristinehamn has set up a new system for co-workers to log into the municipality’s care sector services. For logging in, co-workers can use BankID or smart cards that the municipality itself issues. The old solutions such as SITHS cards have been abandoned.

“In practice, there are only about 100 employees that still need a SITHS card to log into the pharmacy’s prescription tool Pascal.”

With new smart cards, Kristinehamn has obtained a simpler administration of the card and can adapt the services that are wanted on the card. For example, one can decide which integrations with various access control systems one wants to have, and one’s own employee catalogue is simple to manage and have control over, according to Stellan Sjögren.

“We would like to have control over our own infrastructure. Even those aspects that an employee card can deliver”, he says.

5 advantages with modern smart cards

  1. Manage different technologies regarding access control. Older access control systems do not actually need to be replaced, in that, for example, school units with different access control systems function with the same card.
  2. The card can be approved as a Swedish electronic identification if one has one’s own well-structured certificate authority, CA, and good routines for identity management.
  3. It is possible to create a personalized card. Co-workers obtain a distinctive identity.
  4. It is considerably cheaper than older technologies. Modern cards can be produced by the municipality itself, and the physical card can support all kinds of technologies.
  5. The municipality gains control. With a centralized employee registry, Active Directory, connected to the access control system, the municipality gains control over the removal of users who are no longer current, and one also gains control over which employees need physical access to which localities at different times.