While digital signatures and encryption are old technologies, their importance is renewed with the rapid growth of the Internet. Online business transactions have been growing at a rapid pace. More and more money transactions occur electronically and over the Internet. Non-repudiation is important when personal contact is not possible. Digital signatures serve that purpose. Encryption ensures that information sent for the intended party can only be read, unaltered by that party. Several technologies support encryption.
The enterprise security model consists of domains that get protection from resources not permitted to access or execute functions. There is a clear distinction between authorizing a resource and authenticating a resource. When a person shows a driver’s license at the bar before he gets a drink, the bar tender will look at it and compare his photograph with the actual person presenting it. This is authentication. When he checks the date of birth for legal drinking age, he has authorized the requester for the drink.
In the corporate environment, it is exceedingly important that the same form of authentication and authorization take place digitally. With new business channels open on the Internet, web applications deployed on the intranet for employees, and business-to-business (B2B) commerce channels created on the extranet, millions of dollars worth of transactions occur.
Business critical information is passed on the wire between computers, which if exposed to the general public or in the wrong hands could be disastrous to the company in question. For every business that exists there is a threat to the business. For e-business initiatives the anonymity of the network, especially the Internet, brings new threats to information exchange. It is important that information is exchanged secretly and confidently.