FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - The public key infrastructure marketplace has evolved quickly and is helping improve business-to-business electronic commerce, according to a report from International Data Corp.

The report predicts the total market for PKI products and certificate authority services will grow annually by 61% through 2004, from $281 million last year to $3 billion in 2004.

"PKI technology is moving from pilot testing into the real world of e-commerce," said Charles Kolodgy, research manager for IDC's Internet security program. "The push toward business-to-business e-commerce is fueling the adoption of PKI as a business-enablement infrastructure tool for distributed authentication, authorization, encryption, and administration."

PKI products generated two-thirds of the total PKI revenue last year, but the IDC report predicts that percentage will drop to less than half by 2002, and that certificate authority services will represent almost 60% of the revenue by 2004.

"Certificate authority services will become more pervasive as digital certificates become commodities used within PKI-enabled e-commerce applications," Mr. Kolodgy said. "As this happens, CA services will nearly quadruple from 1999 to 2001."

However, according to the report, the PKI marketplace still has limitations, as the technology can be difficult and expensive to deploy and relies on PKI-enabled applications.

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