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Microsoft, VeriSign to Collaborate on PKI Platform

Microsoft and VeriSign are working together to deliver what they call a "next-generation public key infrastructure platform" for delivery by the end of the year.

The offering will build on the PKI technology inside Windows Server 2003 and VeriSign's Managed PKI Services. Customer requirements the platform is supposed to address include strong authentication for remote access, more secure access to wireless LANs and the technology to verify legally-binding signatures in digital documents.

In a demo of some of the technologies during TechEd, VeriSign vice president Nico Popp outlined three ways the new platform would improve upon existing PKI technology: making deployment easier, making PKI easier for end users and providing federation. "It is not enough today to deploy an internal PKI infrastructure that cannot interoperate with your business partners, so we're fixing that," Popp said.

"We will support two primary deployment scenarios. One will be a full hosted service within VeriSign's data center, with still in-premise software," Popp said. "The second deployment scenario will be services hosted on-site, more software in-premise now linked to the VeriSign infrastructure in the cloud through a service that we call the Interoperability Service on VeriSign."

According to one of Popp's demos, the service will also use a Web service provided by the U.S. Postal Service for putting digital postmarks on documents that serve as a kind of signature.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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