Pegasus Technologies Innovative Use Of Cryptocard’s Authentication Tokens Saves Lower Colorado River Authority An Estimated 450 Worker Hours Per Year

By | January 20, 2007

Pegasus Technologies, a leader in IT-based security solutions and services, is proud to announce that its innovative deployment of CRYPTOCard’s user-friendly two-factor authentication tokens has enabled Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to positively identify field workers by phone during the critical Red Tagging process – instantly eliminating 60 percent of associated travel time. LCRA estimates this improved efficiency has saved 450 worker hours per year, which represents a project payback time of seven months.

With approximately 2,200 employees, Central Texas-based LCRA generates and delivers electricity, provides water supplies and flood protection, and manages the waters of the lower Colorado River basin. LCRA’s “Red Tagging” or Lockout/Tagout procedure ensures all equipment at the Fayette Power Project’s (FPP) three coal-fired generating units is safely shut down – to prevent accidental release of stored energy – before maintenance staff begin servicing machinery.

“Since equipment can contain stored electrical energy, air, water pressure, or super-heated steam flowing through piping (often at temperatures above 1000 degrees), Lockout/Tagout is a very serious and meticulous process,” said Virginia Moreno, Senior Safety Representative, LCRA.

Prior to utilizing CRYPTOCard’s RB-1 pinpad token to authenticate themselves by phone the maintenance staff had to travel to the clearance station and manually sign the Master Control document that lists all the isolated equipment to confirm that all machinery had been correctly shut down. With the FPP spread over many acres, LCRA’s research showed that over 60 percent of the time taken to issue Red Tags was due to the travel time between the field and the clearance station. And with over 3000 Red Tags per year split between LCRA’s five maintenance crews, each of which contain between 10 and 14 workers, this travel time added up to over 450 hours annually.

Today, once a maintenance worker has reviewed the Red Tags, they simply contact the clearance station by radio or phone, switch on CRYPTOCard’s RB-1 authentication token and enter their PIN (something only they know). The credit card-style token then generates a random one-time password (something only they have) which is displayed on the token’s screen, and the worker can simply read the password to the operations staff at the clearance station to verify their identity. As the password is different for every call, it cannot be utilized by other workers at a later time.

“LCRA is always looking for ways to become more efficient, and CRYPTOCard’s tokens enable maintenance workers to save 60 percent of the travel time previously required to manually sign off on the Lockout/Tagout process,” explained Douglas Plummer, Business Process Improvement Manager, LCRA. “With an average of 15 minutes travel time to the clearance station, and over 3000 Red Tag clearances a year, LCRA estimates that it has saved 450 worker hours per year, which translates into a payback time of approximately seven months,” Plummer continued. “And that is pretty impressive when you consider that LCRA’s payback threshold for our investment projects is five years.”

“CRYPTOCard’s versatile authentication technology has enabled Pegasus to work with LCRA to develop a unique solution to an increasingly common problem – positively authenticating remote workers over the phone,” said Matt Tucker, President, Pegasus Technologies. “As an IT security services leader, Pegasus feels that its customers deserve more than a cookie-cutter solution, and is proud that this unique approach to authenticating remote workers has proved such a success.”

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