USi guarantees application security

Application service provider USinternetworking on Wednesday took aim at businesses still reluctant to use ASPs because of security concerns by expanding its service-level agreements to guarantee that applications and data hosted by the company would be secure.

USi extended its SLAs in March not only to include application availability, but also to meet application performance requirements laid out in client contracts.

Now, through the most recent enhancements, USi clients get a written guarantee that calls for financial remedies if "known vulnerabilities are exploited that compromise client applications or data," the company says. USi provides security services through its application delivery architecture which includes intrusion detection services, user authentication services, vulnerability patch management services, virus protection services, data cryptography, forensic services and life-cycle risk management. In addition, USi provides protection against known viruses and hackers and can tailor security policies to meet specific client needs.

Jessica Goepfert, an analyst at IDC, says USi is the first ASP she's seen that is providing written guarantees around the security of applications.

"I haven't seen very many ASPs, if any, offer guarantees about the effectiveness of their security services. A lot of ASPs may guarantee the availability of a security system, but that's different from guaranteeing the effectiveness," she says.

"Security continues to be an inhibitor to ASP adoption, so anything ASPs can do to allay the concerns that end users may have about security will help to spur adoption," Goepfert says. "Companies have a natural concern about handing off control and management of key data to a third party, so any guarantee or effort on the part of the ASP to help allay those concerns is typically well received."

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