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Expect More PKI in 2008

Jon Oltsik, CNET News.Com


Wasn't 1999 supposed to be "the year of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)?"

Yes, I know, another analyst prediction that didn't come to fruition.

It's fair to chastise the analysts for another missed call, but PKI certainly shares some of the blame. It really is difficult to imagine a "year of PKI" because PKI isn't your typical technology trend. PKI isn't a standalone security widget, it is a complex infrastructure that must be integrated into existing applications and business processes.

Once implemented however, PKI can really improve security, protect data integrity, and bolster identity management. PKI never took off because of demand- and supply-side issues. Customers eschewed PKI because it was expensive, difficult to implement, and lacked support of many applications.

Vendor solutions really didn't address these issues very well. PKI products have always been rather clunky or academic. IT people love technology but not science projects.  This situation is finally changing.

On the demand side, PKI is riding on the back of regulatory compliance, security, and business-to-business requirements. More companies and government agencies are adopting smart cards for physical and IT security, a perfect complement to PKI. Application support is more ubiquitous and integration is easier than it was in the past. Companies also need to secure data exchange and develop trust relationships with external constituencies. PKI to the rescue!






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