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RSS Feeds, Secured For Enterprise

Reactivity is kicking off what could be a snowballing trend in the next year, configuring its XML servers to accommodate the burgeoning market for Really Simple Syndication (RSS) content feeds.

RSS is an increasingly popular way to easily distribute Web content, generally through a Web log (blog) or portal. RSS feeds let readers check for updated content and allow readers to collect information from many different sources.

While such perks make it attractive to many Web users, one of the problems is a lack of security. While consumers have had no qualms about using or running blogs, enterprises are worried about safeguarding sensitive information that might make it into syndication, if for not else but to meet compliance guidelines.

Enter Reactivity.

Reactivity officials said the company's Gateways, which secure and speed XML content across computer networks, are the first machines of their kind to make XML-based RSS work with secure and private content.

Andrew Nash, CTO for Belmont, Calif.'s Reactivity, said he and his team have modified the company's XML appliances to let users access, secure transport and encrypt RSS feeds and transform RSS data to and from other XML formats.

The machines offer tracking, alerting, reporting capabilities to help RSS feeds to work as intended. Moreover, businesses may use the Gateway to respond to improper identity usage.

In one scenario, customers might like to get notification from his credit card company when a transaction has cleared.

"I'd like to know about it soon because if someone is buying surf boards in my name in Hawaii, I'm probably going to spot it way sooner than any of the Visa folks are going to, with all of their correlative tracking software," Nash said in an interview. "They do a great job but it's still like days before they know what's going on."

With RSS, the customer would know sooner rather than later, Nash said. This provides customers with enough time to react and halt the spending spree.

Nash said he expects RSS adoption among businesses will accelerate when the next versions of Internet Explorer and Windows natively support RSS. Organizations will then begin to use RSS for internal communications, as well as to coordinate with partners and to reach customers.

Reactivity expects blog aggregators, such as SimpleFeed, will be thrilled with the new Gateway because it clears the way for additional enterprise adoption. SimpleFeed aims to serve as the RSS front for businesses.

"We're able to act as an intermediary, and handle the RSS traffic that comes from the enterprise to a simple feed and run some authentication of identity processing on the established sessions," Nash said. "We can also take the XML content in a session, and sign and encrypt it before SimpleFeed sends it out over those SSL connections."

The news is also an indication that XML gateways are becoming more valuable than what many experts pegged them for: Devices that enable Web services , or application-to-application communication on the Internet.

What remains to be seen is if Reactivity rivals such as DataPower, Sarvega and Forum Systems follow suit vis-a-vis RSS enablement.