Public key infrastructure vendors create forum

Microsoft, IBM and three other companies with a vested interest in promoting public key infrastructure products and services yesterday announced the founding of the PKI Forum to speed the adoption of the technology.

The PKI Forum aims to raise awareness of PKI among businesses and address interoperability problems, which have been cited as the main reason for the slow adoption of the technology. PKI systems are designed to secure transmissions over the Internet and other networks, such as extranets, through the use of digital certificates and certificate authorities.

The forum will sponsor product interoperability demonstrations and work closely with standards organisations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force and test organisations, said Carrie Bendzsa, a spokeswoman for Entrust Technologies, one of the founding members of the forum. Baltimore Technologies and RSA Security are the other two founding members.

All five founding companies are committed to working collaboratively with other vendors and users to ensure greater interoperability for PKI-based solutions, the forum said in a press release yesterday.

Membership in the PKI Forum is open to product and service providers, independent software vendors, consultants, integrators and end-user organisations that have a demonstrated interest in promoting PKI technology. The founding members paid $US35,000 each to get the forum running, Bendzsa said. An associate membership costs $10,000 and an auditing membership costs $5,000, she said.

In addition to the five founding members, the PKI Forum is supported by a variety of companies that are committed to interoperable PKI-based solutions, including British Telecommunications PLC, Hewlett-Packard, ID Certify, Novell, The Open Group, the Sun Microsystems/Netscape Communications alliance, Spyrus, Thawte Certification, Trustpoint, ValiCert and Xcert International.

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