RSA Data Security Inc. has reorganized and refined its widely used e- mail security components to more closely relate them to electronic commerce requirements.
Symbolic of the strategic shift, RSA has changed the name of its S/MAIL software development tools, integrating them with the BSAFE security offerings.
The tools based on the de facto S/MIME standard (Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) are now BSAFE S/MIME-C, for the C computer language. An S/MIME-J, for Java, is likely to follow, said Katherine Stolz, RSA product manager, security protocols.
RSA, a de facto standards-setter in the data encryption field and a San Mateo, Calif.-based subsidiary of Security Dynamics Technologies Inc., has customers "preparing to roll out e-commerce applications, including bill presentment and other applications that go beyond e-mail," said Ms. Stolz.
Effective with an availability announcement Monday-the basic S/MIME-C software development kit cost is $295-RSA is delivering "built-in hooks" to public key infrastructures and digital certificates for secure commerce, and "server-centric features" that are suited to evolving electronic commerce methods, Ms. Stolz added.
"Our clients are relying on Internet-capable e-mail as a fundamental building block" for commerce, said Jim Hurley, managing director of the information security practice of the research firm Aberdeen Group. Electronic mail and other messaging applications are making their way into "production business procedures," he said.
RSA responded by enabling secure messaging technology to be built into Internet-based electronic data interchange, billing, securities trading, and the like. The tool kit simplifies programmers' access to cryptographic resources for secure messaging applications.
Ms. Stolz noted that electronic bill presentment has been slow off the mark, despite the increasing availability of such enabling technologies. But she sees behind-the-scenes indications of progress.
She said at least two of the handful of "big corporate names" that have been working with RSA in S/MIME-C beta tests are strong in the banking and financial industry.
"Once you get two big names out there," Ms. Stolz said, "the rest of the industry will follow."