Covisint, the trading portal developed by the motor industry and now owned by IT services company Compuware, is gearing up to offer password management and secure authentication services to the health and finance industries and government after a review of its business.
The portal, originally created as an online auction and catalogue system for motor manufacturing firms and suppliers, is repositioning itself as a password and authentication management service for companies that need to communicate electronically with customers and suppliers.
Covisint helped Ford cut the cost of managing tens of thousands of passwords which control supplier access to Ford’s systems by 75%, David Miller, Covisint’s chief security officer said.
The organisation, which manages 250,000 user identities for the world’s leading motor manufacturers and 30,000 suppliers, expects to offer the same services to health insurance firms and hospitals within two years.
"We are very close to announcing a deal in healthcare to do the same thing," Miller said. "Our focus is to say we are a community of users. It would be great if doctors could log on and access information from insurance providers. Insurance companies could use it to get information from hospitals on the progress of their patients."
The introduction of US regulations in healthcare is putting pressure on hospitals and health insurers to manage patient information securely, creating an incentive for those organisations to outsource authentication management, said Miller.
Covisint aims to offer a full password management service within two years. It estimated that it could manage between two and five million customers.
The company believes it can reduce the cost of password management in the health sector by spreading helpdesk costs among health organisations and insurers that use the system.
"Of the helpdesk costs related to identity management, 50% are from lost passwords and people who do not know how to log on. We would spread that cost among multiple customers," said Miller.
The organisation is also working to provide a similar service for insurance companies that want to sell products from other financial suppliers.
Covisint will act as a trusted third party, verifying the identities of financial firms and acting as a gateway to allow them access into each other’s networks.
Services for government departments, which will assist them to make information available on-line to the public, are likely to follow.
Covisint also plans to use its password management expertise to offer secure authentication services to small and medium-sized companies that could ordinarily not afford their own systems.