VPN Vendor Pushes Public-Key infrastructure

ACTON, MASS. (05/08/2000) - Indus River Networks Inc. is showing customers how to implement digital certificate authentication and public-key infrastructure (PKI) in virtual private networks (VPN) that were set up using other authentication schemes.

PKIworks is the company's roadmap that spells out how Indus River customers can wean themselves from other methods to PKI, which is supported by the IPSecurity VPN standard.

PKIworks is designed to help companies unify user authentication and make managing VPNs easier. Also, digital certificates are considered more secure than authentication methods that rely on user names and passwords.

Customers start by adding PKI support to their central site infrastructure, but most remote users continue to use existing Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service or SecureID authentication.

Only a pilot group actually uses PKI and digital certificates initially to give information systems staff the chance to get used to the technology. For added security, customers can continue using their old authentication in conjunction with digital certificates. Then companies can phase in PKI and digital certificates to other users.

Indus River will rely on other vendors for the PKI software, which manages the issuance of digital certificates. Indus River supports PKI software from RSA Security Inc., Entrust Technologies Inc. and VeriSign Inc..

Migrating to PKI is important to simplify authentication in the remote access VPN used by Anderson Windows of Bayport, Minnesota, says Bob Benson, the company's senior technology architect.

With an Indus River-based VPN, Anderson users are authenticated via a mix of NT Domains, Unix host names and smart cards, he says. The company also wants to set up extranets with business partners and use something more secure than user name and password.

Indus River also is adding PKI support with Version 3.0 of its RiverWorks software, which is available now. The company is also running training courses for PKI migration at $2,500 per student.

Indus River: www.indusriver.com

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