Your government-issued passport is the unequivocal identifier that you are who you say you are. Certified and authorised, it fits the bill for authentication around the world. If only it were that easy in the world of e-business.
The potential for fraud grows by the day as companies increasingly conduct business over the Internet, both in business-to-consumer transactions and business-to-business transactions and relationships. In business-to-consumer markets, Visa reports that 47% of all of its cardholder disputes are Internet-related.
Industry analysts estimate that the business-to-business market, expected to grow to $2,7 trillion by 2004, according to Forrester Research, poses even greater risk. Not only is fraud a concern but the potential for disputed contracts is enormous - how will anyone have proof that an authorised company representative agreed to terms and conditions they may later deny? Where is the paper - or in this case, electronic-trail?
Gemplus claims to have the solution. Its GemSAFE Enterprise (GSE) provides a smartcard solution for enterprise security. With the GSE solution, Gemplus essentially issues electronic passports.
"The security challenges that businesses face as they move their operations online and literally, open up their systems for e-business, are daunting," says Roger Merckling, Senior Director of IT Marketing at Gemplus. "Challenges include user authentication, confidentiality, privacy, liability and the risk of outright denial of a business agreement or contract. It is a whole laundry list of concerns but Gemplus GSE builds the trust into e-business networks that companies need to address these challenges."
Business-to-business e-commerce imperatives
Indeed, one of the imperatives of business-to-business e-commerce is a security infrastructure that prevents repudiation of contracts and transactions; companies in the e-business space will need legally enforceable electronic agreements to prevent denial of an agreement and to reduce their overall liability. The GSE solution provides that infrastructure.
With its state-of-the-art smartcard technology, based on public key infrastructure (PKI), GSE supports all levels of trust, including authorised, certified identity verification within a network, the highest level of trust there is.
The primary nonrepudiation tool within a public key infrastructure is a smartcard, granted to each user, which contains personal identification and verification information about the card's owner. Stored on the card are the public and private keys of the user, individually assigned and mathematically combined for unique authorisation within a system - a combination that is computationally impossible to crack.
Smartcards, as part of a public key infrastructure, build the level of trust needed in the wide-open business space of today -and tomorrow.
Logical and physical access - twinning
To ease this rapid adoption and to keep costs down, Gemplus recommends the use of 'twins', that is, a combination of logical and physical access on one card. "Large corporations today already use cards for physical access control at their offices and locations, so adding the logical access is a natural, cost-effective extension," says Tarvinder Karsandh, Vice President of Marketing for Gemplus in the Americas region.
"What is more, when smartcards are combined with biometrics technology, companies can eliminate the need for their employees to remember passwords for access. Industry studies have shown that calls to company help desks are reduced by 40% when companies eliminate passwords."
Cost-effective and easily deployable, the GemSAFE Enterprise solution enables secure e-business in an age when trust and control can no longer be taken for granted.