Getting a CAC Card Reader for your Personal Computer
If you are a military or civilian employee for the Department of Defense (DOD), then you are probably familiar with CAC cards. A CAC, or a Common Access Card, gives you access to government and defense system computers. With the proper identification of a Common Access Card and a pass code or password will get you past the access control on the computer.
Many military personnel who have sensitive information on their personal computers make use of CAC card readers ensure that only they can have access to the information on the hardware. If you are looking to buy CAC reader, then here are some things to consider before you make a purchase.
Why you should buy a DOD CAC Reader
First of all, keep in mind that a reader for CAC card access, otherwise known as a smart card reader, is not necessary if all you are looking to do is access Army Knowledge Online (AKO). Many personnel make the mistake of purchasing one for this purpose, only to find that all it requires is a login and password.
What getting a CAC reader can do for you is allow you to access AKO much quicker and without hassle. It can also let you access other military sites and services, such as the Defense Travel System (DTS), the Defense Connect Online (DCO) and accounts on the Defense Finance Accounting System (DFAS). Getting a reader for your smartcard can also allow you to access the Army Correspondence Course website and the Individual Training and Readiness System (ITRS) for all your training needs.
Procuring and Installing a CAC Card Reader
Most of the time, your military unit will provide one for you. If this is not the case, one can be purchased from stores that specialize in military goods or surplus. Next, plug your CAC card reader into the hardware. Make sure that you have checked the CAC reader beforehand to see if its components have been compromised to prevent function and if it has been installed properly. An installation wizard should appear on the hardware and guide you through the process.
If no installation wizard appears, you will have to install your CAC card reader manually. On most computers, you should be able to access the Properties and find the Device Manager Button. Click on this and scroll down to Smart Card Readers. Click on the button that accesses this and check to see if your device has been listed on the computer. If it is, then your smart card reader has been successfully installed into the computer.
Once your reader is installed, you may then proceed to unzip the driver and update it. Once all of, this is taken care of, and the settings on the computer have been set in the proper manner, then you should have a computer, which allows CAC card access and the benefits that come with it.