IBM gives Identrus a lift

As IBM gears up for its SecureWorld security conference in Washington next Monday, Big Blue lent a major helping hand to secure business-to-business this week with the introduction of a new security testing lab and products to help support Identrus.

Identrus LLC, a working global standard to make large-scale b-to-b transactions and buyer/seller authentication a reality, features a membership of 50 financial institutions.

This week IBM announced the opening of its Identrus Ready applications testing laboratory in Gaithersburg, Md. Equipped with IBM Global Services experts on hand, the laboratory is designed to enable application developers to test their technology to operate within the proposed Identrus infrastructure, said Mark Greene, general manager of IBM Global Banking in White Plains, New York.

Through its new Identrus Ready certification program, Greene said IBM will use a series of "test harnesses" developed with security vendor ValiCert at its security and privacy services facility to streamline and help ramp up a wide range of new business solutions for deployment in the Identrus system.

"Getting trusted payments is a focus for us so people can start to move money on the Internet between corporations," said Greene, who added that the grunt work of building a solid foundation for Identrus has only begun. "We're through the early days of the glitz. It's not always sexy work [enabling online] business."

As part of its announcement, IBM said that its WebSphere software, DB2 Universal Database, and eServer hardware have all become Identrus-compliant and will be made available to application providers at the testing lab.

Greene said that IBM has plans to roll out payment applications and other corporate banking applications to be used in conjunction with the Identrus infrastructure.

A number of security players, including VeriSign Inc., Baltimore Technologies PLC, and Safelayer, also have Identrus Compliant products. According to Identrus officials, products certified to meet compliance will sport special logos to highlight for customers their readiness to operate within the Identrus system. Certified products will be listed on Identrus' Web site.

Breffni McGuire, senior analyst at Needham, Mass.-based Tower Group, said IBM's Identrus efforts are a large step forward to help financial institutions to be able to find suppliers very easily and quickly. Boosting confidence in the validity of the tools and products to power Identrus is another bonus, she added.

"If there's a worry out there in the industry that the technology or infrastructure hasn't been robust enough, this certification [program] should help alleviate that concern," McGuire said.

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