RealTime IT News

IBM's Got That Secure Feeling Going On

Baltimore Technologies scored a winning run Wednesday when IBM Corp. added the security firm to its e-commerce portfolio.

Financial terms were not made public.

A major player in the e-business services market, Big Blue's global services unit plans to offer integration services to support the Baltimore UniCERT certificate management system and Telepathy wireless e-security solutions.

The nub is that customers and business partners will have better protection and more secure transactions at their finger tips. Baltimore is a respected leader in the public key infrastructure arena along with fierce rival RSA Security who, until last week, had kept a patent on its encryption technology in the U.S. for the last 27 years.

Baltimore and its rivals did use the encryption algorithm for security products overseas, but could not use it in this country until the patent expired.

Baltimore responded a few days after the patent was lifted by releasing its own KeyTools, which includes significant technology enhancements to Baltimore's previous toolkit range. Baltimore was restricted from selling its leading range of developer products in America due to limitations imposed by licensing conditions for the controversial patent on the RSA algorithm.

Before the patent expired, bad blood had developed between RSA and Baltimore, who accused the top security firm of bullying rivals and charging high licensing rates for competitors and clients. Even analysts in the security sector took notice.

"The release of RSA algorithm to the public domain will finally allow the IETF to adopt uniform cryptographic standards," said David Thompson, research analyst with the META Group. "Longer term, the increased availability of cryptographic functionality will allow easier and less expensive integration of PKI security services into applications and thus help overcome a major stumbling block -- that of application support for PKI."

The expiration of the patent surely makes Baltimore's deal with IBM that much sweeter.

"The success of electronic and wireless commerce depends on trust and we believe PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) is an essential building block towards establishing trusted transactions," said Cal Slemp, director, global trust and e-commerce services, IBM Global Services.

IBM Global Services consultants and technologists now have access to Baltimore's e-security training programs, marketing tools and technical support. More than 200 IBM e-business service professionals in 30 countries will be certified to integrate Baltimore's suite of e-security solutions with their customers' e-business and wireless systems.