The partnership is designed to raise awareness of the need for security in e-business, based on a survey of 40 of the top 400 UK businesses.
The Buying Online - Fad or Future report revealed that the Web sites of one in seven of the companies have been hacked or closed down by a computer virus attack and that a quarter of those surveyed had no strategy policy to handle breaches of Internet security. The survey concluded that fear of attack and the need to tackle Internet fraud is raising awareness of the need for secure e-business systems.
Tim Pickard, strategic marketing director at RSA, said, "The results are not surprising. All too often security was viewed as a technical, confusing issue only addressed by IT directors at a time of crisis. This view is changing and security is finally becoming a top issue for directors and board members."
Pickard feels that this is because security is no longer being seen as purely an IT issue but as a strategic move to ensure competitive advantage. This requires a broader approach from RSA, and the company hopes that the partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers will help to provide this through the co-development of products and services.
Pickard said this will enable RSA's products to be seen in the light of a complete e-business infrastructure.
Awareness of security requirements will be the focus of the RSA Security Conference 2001, which will take place in Amsterdam on 15-18 October. Apart from general security issues, the key topics will be advances in biometric solutions and how wireless networks will affect the way we live and work.
At RSA's US conference earlier this year a series of seminars given by ethical hackers and security experts attracted the biggest audiences, and these will also be a feature of the Amsterdam meeting.
RSA believes that, as with e-business, the uptake of wireless technologies will be seriously held back because of the lack of security. To help allay these fears, the company has released an extension of its Bsafe encryption system for use in these environments.
The Bsafe Wireless Core encryption software is based on systems developed for cell phones, such as Symbian, Nokia, Matsushita and Ericsson. The primary consideration in wireless environments is that encryption should be executed as fast as possible. This has necessitated fine-tuning through the use of optimised assembler code for specific processors running operating systems from Symbian, Palm and Microsoft.
RSA also produces an implementation of Compaq's Multiprime encryption and signing technology. This underlines the need for any wireless security system to be compatible with existing wired networks.
One of the problems with Wap phones is that they are not directly compatible with standard wired networks. This means encrypted data has to be decrypted and re-encrypted through a gateway. This renders the data vulnerable at the network's edge - an area vulnerable to hackers. Taking away the need for this type of gateway not only enhances security but also means that wireless networks can be rolled out more rapidly than before.