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Bantu, VeriSign Team for Secure IM Services

Internet trust services giant VeriSign, Inc. is teaming with Bantu, Inc., which provides secure, business-grade instant messaging (IM) and presence technology, to integrate VeriSign's certificate services and secure messaging technology with Bantu's IM & presence platform. The partnership will create the first certificate-based IM solution for enterprises, communications providers and governments.

Digital certificates are considered a critical element for the most secure means for transacting business over the Internet today as they provide a way to authenticate identities over the Internet and enable secure, encrypted browser-to-server and user-to-user communications.

"The enterprise market for IM is experiencing explosive growth, and ironclad security is a top priority for organizations seeking business-grade collaboration tools," said Larry Schlang, president and chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based Bantu.

According to IDC, corporate IM users are expected to rocket to 181 million in 2004 from 6 million in 1999.

"Together, our digital certificate technology and Bantu's Web-based IM and presence technology create a new standard for secure instant messaging," said Mahi de Silva, VeriSign's vice president for Applied Trust Services. "In response to customer demand for secure instant messaging, we found Bantu's technology platform and architecture was a natural fit for our Secure Messaging infrastructure."

The Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign provides infrastructure services to Web sites, enterprises, electronic commerce service providers and individuals. The company's domain name, digital certificate and payment services provide Web identity, authentication and transaction infrastructure.

Bantu's customers and partners include Citrix, the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA), Corechange, Johns Hopkins University, SAIC, Sprint, and SRA/Assentor.