By KUTLER, JEFFREY
Despite being in what is supposed to be an early stage of development, the data security industry has produced enough companies with competing "complete solutions" to make bankers' and other prospective customers' heads spin.
There has been such an explosion that a totally thorough assessment of all products could slow the march toward Internet commerce that data encryption and digital authentication packages are supposed to accelerate.
This flowering of security tools and techniques for applying them- perhaps a characteristic of an immature industry that is bound for a shakeout-was in full view at the annual conference sponsored by the company whose encryption technology is at the heart of it all, RSA Data Security Inc. of San Mateo, Calif.
RSA and its parent, Security Dynamics Technologies Inc., are right at the front of the parade with an all-in-one "product family" called Keon.
But to say Keon is not alone would be an understatement. Some of the most recent products and pitches are summarized in the accompanying box.
International Business Machines Corp. and Equifax Inc., both on their own and through a strategic alliance, are among those putting together all the pieces of PKI-the public key infrastructure, digital certificate issuing and management capabilities, firewalls and other network security systems, various types of hardware and software components, and consulting help-to ease acceptance and installation in corporate enterprises.
The three top vendors of digital certificate systems-Entrust Technologies Inc., GTE Cybertrust Solutions, and Verisign Inc., which began as an RSA spinoff-also put their own spins on "ease of implementation." GTE's new Accelerator program is one example of the emphasis being placed on professional services, the consulting support that is seen as increasingly critical for PKI technology to spread.
The field is international and crowded, with entries from France (the computer company Bull, parent of BullSoft), Ireland (Baltimore Technologies), Sweden (Celo Communications), and South Africa (Thawte Certification).
Hewlett-Packard Co. is likely to play a key role through its Praesidium framework, which includes the Virtual Vault that is widely deployed in Internet banking. Also in the mix are the major computer service companies, consulting firms, and accounting firms that are influential system integrators.
"People are looking for more than a base technology," said Chuck Stuckey, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Security Dynamics, which is based in Bedford, Mass. …