RSA strides out of safe zone to secure future

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RSA strides out of safe zone to secure future

RSA launched a consumer service offering and an appliance at its San Francisco annual conference late February, strategic steps analysts said were bold but necessary.

Since last year, the security market has failed to support the internet economy, said Art Coviello, chairman and CEO of RSA.

"Since [last year] confidence has been further shaken, with phishing, spyware, trojans and identity theft. Confidence has been eroded, and we are seeing services being rolled back," he said.

RSA launched its RSA Authentication Service in order to target this problem. It provides a consumer-oriented service to business wishing to offer more secure authentication.

The move follows the company's alliance with AOL last year to provide the ISP's subscribers with SecurID tokens. Jon Collins, principal analyst at Quocirca, said this was a critical move for RSA.

"RSA has always wanted to be perceived as a trusted authority," he said. "The company is definitely moving outside its core competence, but you have to ask whether any company [in the security market] can survive as only a technology provider."

RSA has responded to other market demands too, introducing an appliance version of its authentication server which ships prepackaged with tokens for deployment into smaller companies than its usual target market.

Several speakers at the conference, including Coviello, Symantec's John Thompson and Microsoft's Bill Gates, stressed that without standards and integration, the security industry will be unable to regain the trust of the market.

RSA acknowledged that this integration drive meant even its ambitious Nexus framework, which unites the company's IAM, signon, federation and provisioning components, had a sell-by date beyond which more work would be required. RSA and its partners also presented a set of open standards for one-time passwords at the conference, a move Collins applauded.

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