Authentic8 packages authentication service

Security software developer Authentic8 has launched its outsourced e-business authentication service using its products and services and those of eight other vendors.

Called Authentic8.com, the service enables customers to authenticate the identity of their users and ensure the secure transmission of data using an integrated public key infrastructure (PKI) and smart card solution.

The service uses Authentic8's own secure remote access and smart card personalisation software and products and services from Optus, Placard, eSign, Baltimore, Microsoft and Computer Associates.

The Authentic8.com service includes the issue and management of smart cards and related hardware; the secure creation and provision of digital certificates and private keys; management of user directories; and 24-hour service support.

Authentic8 said that it started the service in response to GartnerGroup's research findings that the most common barrier to the growth of e-business is the lack of security. It is also responding to the findings of its own survey of IT managers, which showed that the major concerns in building a PKI infrastructure are high costs, time to implementation and the drain on internal IT staff.

"In-house PKI setups can take up to three months to get to pilot and up to 12 months before full implementation, and the demands on internal IT resources can be enormous. Capital investment can run from $500,000 to $2 million," said Stephen Thompson, Authentic8.com's CEO.

In comparison, Authentic8.com's customers roll out their e-business security infrastructure in weeks rather than months, and they pay a monthly per-user charge instead of up-front capital costs, Thomas said.

Authentic8.com's target customers are large corporations, especially those in the banking, finance, carrier and government sectors. Its customers currently include British Telecom, the Transport Accident Commission and the Australian Taxation Office.

Through British Telecom, Authentic8.com plans to offer its services to businesses in the UK. It is also in discussion with US companies to extend its services to the US.

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