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IBM, Industry Group Unveil Secure Platform

IBM Corp., in conjunction with an industry group, today published standards for building secure platforms. The Trusted Computing Platform Alliance (TCPA) released version 1.0 of its guidelines for secure computers.

TCPA lays out guidelines for creating secure computers in the specification released today. IBM and other vendors plan to ship TCPA-compliant machines later this year. Jim Ward, senior solutions architect at IBM’s personal systems group, says that the TCPA guidelines ensure computers have increased security.

The TCPA specifications center on two main areas: trusted reporting and public key infrastructure (PKI). The TCPA reporting guidelines create profiles of a machine’s security settings as the machine boots. Ward says content providers such as Bloomberg or Hoover’s may take advantage of this feature to ensure users do not redistribute content.

PKI, the second area of the specification, creates digital certificates for identifying and authenticating machines on the Internet. IBM has created encryption chips to automate PKI processes, and has added these chips to its NetVista line of desktops.

Ward expects that enterprises will be among the first companies to purchase TCPA compliant machines. Large companies with many branch or remote offices will want to ensure that data remains within the organization.

While the 1.0 specification treats only PC-type devices, Ward anticipates the TCPA will tackle security on wireless and handheld devices in the near future. “The spec should come soon,” Ward says. “Expect IBM to be the first to offer embedded security.”

Compaq, HP, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft founded the TCPA in 1999 to establish standards for secure computing. Since its founding, over one hundred security-related businesses have joined the consortium. – Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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