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VeriSign Targets Web Services with New Framework

Less than a week after Microsoft Corp. ushered in the all-important Visual Studio parcel of its .NET framework, VeriSign Inc. -- the Mountain View, Calif. king of the hill in digital trust services -- late Tuesday introduced its framework for safeguarding such Web Services.

VeriSign said its new, open Digital Trust Services model provides seamless interfaces to its digital identity, authentication and authorization, and transaction services, all of which will allow partners who embrace the platform to more safely automate business processes.

Or, as VeriSign President and CEO Stratton Sclavos summed it up: "Embedding interfaces to our digital trust services into major platforms reduces the friction that enterprises typically face in automating internal and external business processes, enabling them to capture significant gains in productivity and efficiency."

Major players behind Web services have come out in droves to use it because VeriSign's brand is so strong. These firms include Microsoft, BEA Systems Inc. , Hewlett-Packard Co. , IBM Corp. , Oracle Corp. , Sun Microsystems Inc. and webMethods Inc. .

With it, VeriSign is offering application programming interfaces (APIs), developer tools and a service provider platform to assist developers, value added resellers (VARs), systems integrators (SIs) and large-scale service providers delivering trusted solutions to enterprises and end users. Firms helping out with this endeavor include ActivCard; Grand Central Networks Inc.; Kontiki; Neoteris; Phoenix Technologies Ltd.; USA.NET Inc. and Yodlee. In terms of applicability to service providers, USA.NET has combined VeriSign's managed PKI services with its hosted Microsoft Exchange 2000 service to deliver a secure messaging solution to Fortune 500 enterprises.

Daryl Plummer, group vice president and research group director at Gartner Inc., saw the VeriSign announcement as a significant play.

"Moving Web Services to the next level of acceptance and adoption really depends on how well the industry integrates digital trust services into the supporting infrastructure, both at the network and application levels," Plummer said.

On the technical side of things, VeriSign's Digital Trust Services framework features native integration with platforms built on open standards such as XKMS (XML Key Management Standard) and SAML (Security Assertions Markup Language).

Finally, VeriSign indicated it has its eye toward the future when it unveiled a technology roadmap to prepare for the sure evolution of the nascent space. The schema is designed to enable future integrated trust services, such as global validation, authenticated payments and trusted IP/telephony services. The firm provides more details about this roadmap here.

VeriSign's Web Services toolkit is available now and may be downloaded here.