VeriSign draws road map for Web services

VeriSign Inc. drew up a road map of its Web services plans and predictions on Tuesday backed behind the debut of its two new Web services offerings. At the same time, company officials cautioned that quantifiable and positive results of Web services deployments will be out of reach until necessary integration and trusted security measures are put in place.

Verisign chairman, president, and CEO Stratton Scavlos said IT budgets should start loosening in 2003 to hammer out integration difficulties which plague Web services adoption. To illustrate his position, he pointed to such examples as the fierce platform battles surrounding Web services architecture and application development tools, active standards efforts, heavy vertical industry and U.S. government interest, and the flexibility that XML provides.

"Interoperability is promised across [Web services] initiatives but not proven. We've seen this movie before," said Scavlos of Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign. "We're compliant with standards but nothing works together."

To address that problem and tackle lingering security questions, VeriSign on Tuesday introduced its Open Source WS-Security Implementation and Integration Toolkit. Designed for assisting developers to incorporate encryption and digital signatures for Web services, the toolkit marks an accelerated push by VeriSign to re-invent its full range of services to be Web services front-ended and delivered in a nonhuman-intervened fashion.

That initiative will be driven by a new platform being developed by VeriSign called a "Trust Gateway." The product will be integrated and configuration-ready with all major application server platforms and match compliance with multiple Web services standards efforts.

"You'll see VeriSign doing a wide variety of propagation to get VeriSign technology embedded into these new [Web services] platforms. In 1995 it was browsers, in 2003 [VeriSign technology] will be in applications, routers, application servers, firewalls, appliances ... to wake the network up and be secure," said Scavlos.

Scavlos noted VeriSign's past success in the mid-90s providing the code which helped form the underpinnings of secure socket layer technology for Microsoft Explorer and NetScape Web browsers.

In addition to its Open Source Toolkit, VeriSign announced the availability of its Online Consumer Authentication Service. The service aims to provide customers with automated and managed access to authentication data through an application using pre-defined XML standards and encryption that cross-references and risk-ranks consumers' identity.

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