A Smart card management system (abbreviated SCMS or CMS) is a system for managing smart cards through the life cycle of the smart cards. Thus, the system can issue the smart cards, maintain the smart cards while in use and finally take the smart cards out of use (EOL). Chip/smart cards provide the foundation for secure electronic identity, and can be used to control access to facilities, networks or computers. As the smart cards are security credentials for authenticating the smart card holder (for example using two-factor authentication) the security requirements for a smart card management system are often high and therefore the vendors of these systems are found in the computer security industry.
Smart card management systems are generally implemented as software applications. If the system needs to be accessible by more than one operator or user simultaneously (this is normally the case) the software application is often provided in the form of a server application accessible from several different client systems. An alternative approach is to have multiple synchronized systems.
Smart card management systems connect smart cards to other systems. Which systems the smart card management system must connect to depends on the use case for the smart cards.