Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has rolled out programs intended to offer business clients a less risky, more cost-effective way to adopt public key infrastructure, or PKI, and digital signature technology.

The bank's service, announced Wednesday, includes a PKI Discovery Program under which the bank works with clients to conduct a security audit, review existing technology and business processes, and help build a business case for PKI implementation. For companies that decide to take the next step, the bank's OnSite Pilot Program allows testing of a PKI solution that can be used for any Web-enabled application, such as e-mail or signing documents. Test participants can select only one application, and the maximum length of use is three months.

Anthony O. Santilli, director of product marketing for the Canadian bank, said the goal of both programs is to educate clients and, ideally, to encourage them to adopt its OnSite PKI solution, which authenticates users and supplies digital certificates for Web-based applications.

"The objective is to bring down the barriers and remove the risks of investing in a large PKI implementation," he said. "We want to educate the market on how easy PKI is and how easily we can implement PKI applications."

Technology for both programs is provided by VeriSign Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., a provider of digital certificates and other online security services. CIBC, based in Toronto, is the Canadian affiliate of the technology company and a member of the VeriSign Trust Network, a worldwide group of VeriSign affiliates.

Outsourced PKI solutions typically cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in-house solutions can run into the millions, Mr. Santilli said. The Canadian bank's new programs, he said, let companies gauge their need and expense before making a commitment.

"We're saying, 'Don't step into the deep end before you really look into it,' " he said. "We want to lower the risks so our customers can get their feet wet and get an idea of what a PKI implementation is all about."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.