Technology Behind Secure Internet Transactions Comes Down to Earth With Windows-Based Solution From WISeKey
Extract from Article Published by Microsoft PressPass - The Journalist's Resource for Microsoft News - http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/
PARIS �- 16 August, 2004 �-WISeKey Offers Federated Identity Solutions on the Windows Server 2003 Platform
WISeKey develops applications for organizations that require a layer of security higher than is typically available in the market �- in sectors such as government, finance and defense. WISeKey technology enables organizations to host a PKI certificate authority within their own infrastructure, using a model of cross-certificates between organizations to establish absolute trust. This autonomy is essential for governments, which must house their own IT security infrastructure to maintain complete control over their national security.
Last month, WISeKey and Microsoft signed a contract with the government of Portugal to establish a similar identity framework. Three of Portugal�'s ministries have independent authentication systems, with different passwords required for each. Microsoft is teaming up with WISeKey to implement the solution, initially to integrate Portugal�'s disparate systems, and subsequently to incorporate PKI security.
"Essentially, governments want to emulate the interactions that take place in the analogue world," says Carlos Moreira, CEO of WISeKey. "Before they create binding transactions between citizens and governments, they want to have the authentication infrastructure in the country and not somewhere else. You wouldn�'t expect France to issue a passport for England, for example."
Wisekey�'s technology takes advantage of the certificate authority built into Windows Server 2003, which Microsoft originally designed to manage user licenses for the operating system. Wisekey�'s security solution enables Windows Server 2003 to serve as a full PKI certificate authority at a fraction of the cost of a traditional certificate authority application.
"With this combination of Windows Server 2003 and federated identity technology from WISeKey, we can deliver, for less than $20,000, a full identity infrastructure which a year ago would have cost $1 million or more," Moreira says. "So now that it is becoming affordable, developing countries as well as smaller organizations and companies can afford to move into Class 3 security, and this in turn will increase the transactional value of the Internet."
Why Is Authentication So Important?
PKI�'s certificate-based client authentication, strong encryption and secure electronic signatures eliminate the need for people to print out, sign and send in forms they download from government Web sites. PKI is a prerequisite to paperless interactions, because a trusted digital signature is the only way to be sure of the confidentiality and authenticity required for these automated processes.
"Widespread use of PKI authentication is dependent on solutions that can use public keys, such as the Mauritius e-marketplace," says Per Bendix Olsen, government partner manager for Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa. "Now governments are realizing the possibility of end-to-end case management workflow, which is essential if they want to harvest all the benefits of e-government."
Integration Is the Path to Efficient E-Government
WISeKey implemented a cross-government identity platform based on Windows Server 2003, creating a single framework for the government to interact with companies and citizens. "Organizations are starting to look to the Internet for highly strategic transactions, and now they can reach that level of transaction security with Windows 2003, a browser and Wisekey," Moreira says. "So extremely secure applications like e-voting are possible, provided that the right enhancements are implemented alongside the Windows infrastructure."
Microsoft EMEA Brings Together a Full Set of Public Sector Solutions by Partner ISVs
"Security and secure access to information and the extension of workflow to include citizens and companies are key components of e-government," Olsen says. "We look to partners such as Wisekey to ensure that solutions based on Microsoft technology are available in all areas of the public sector."
According to Olsen, "By bringing together these solutions together in the context of one public sector resource, we not only support our partners with additional reach and exposure for their products, we give public organizations the tools to enhance and extend their IT infrastructure and build on their existing investment in Microsoft platforms and desktops."
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