Ensuring Secure Transmission

SAN MATEO (03/31/2000) - Ensuring secure transmission, reception, and management of e-mail messages and digital content is rapidly becoming a key challenge for IT managers as these technologies become increasingly essential for e-business operations. From e-mail interception to the threat of flawless reproduction of downloadable content, the security threats are becoming too great for IT managers to ignore.

At the heart of the problem is the fact that these communication methods were not initially designed to have strong security features because they were not originally intended for mission-critical tasks.

"Is there a need [for better security capabilities]? Absolutely," said Dennis Szerszen, director of security strategies at Hurwitz Group, a consultancy in Framingham, Massachusetts. "I expect technology like that to be embedded over time in browsers and collaborative software products."

"If you put a piece of content in this cyberworld, it's as good as the 1-inch master in the editing room," said Steve Johnson, president at security vendor InfoLoc, in New York.

New capabilities are being developed to address these problems.

Infraworks' InTether software, due to be released next week, uses a series of layered defenses to protect access permissions. If a security violation occurs, InTether destroys the exposed data. It is geared toward e-businesses and those users in the music and entertainment industry who are concerned about their products being copied.

Authentica is promoting its MailVault and WebVault products to operate with its flagship PageVault software, giving users integrated control over e-mail, Web site information, and electronic documents.

Authentica does not delete sent files but locks down unauthorized access through encryption. Neither the security policy nor the encryption keys travel with the document. Instead the user is sent to the MailVault server where the e-mail is created and given a 128-bit key to choose different options of who, when, and how the file can be viewed. WebVault provides audit control capabilities and determines how Web page information is used.

Disappearing Inc. is focusing on securing and developing good corporate policies for e-mail distribution, according to co-founder and marketing director Jeff Ubois. The company is planning to move from offering a hosted service to an appliance version later this year for companies that want to run their own key server.

Meanwhile, a representative of QVtech said the company will announce on April 10 that its Interosa software product for the protection of e-mail will be integrated into the Microsoft Outlook environment, eliminating the current need to download a Java applet to see the Interosa-delivered message.

InTether costs $169 per user and will be available for Microsoft Windows 95 and 98 by the end of this week, and for Windows NT on April 30. WebVault will be available this week. MailVault is slated for release in May, and Authentica has not released pricing on either of its new products.

Authentica Inc., in Waltham, Mass., is at www.authentica.com. Infraworks Corp., in Austin, Texas, is at www.infraworks.com. Disappearing Inc., in San Francisco, is at www.disappearinginc.com. QVtech Inc., in Colorado Springs, Colo., is at www.qvtech.com.

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