Netscape Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: NSCP) announced on Monday that it upgraded its directory and security software, which is used for e-commerce transactions. Already, major companies like Lehman Brothers, Compaq, and Bell Atlantic have adopted the new Netscape technology, and many others are expected to follow suit. Adding security features to its suite of e-commerce applications is a necessary strategy for Netscape, which faces stiff competition from e-commerce software rival Microsoft.
“As companies expand their business strategy to leverage the Internet as a primary way to do business with customers and partners, security becomes a critical issue,” said David Weiden, vice president of directory server and security products at Netscape.
Netscape hopes that e-commerce stores and corporate extranets will prefer to control customer access through the use of its digital certificate technology, rather than with the name-and-password management which is used by the vast majority of e-commerce sites today.
According to Dave Macolino, vice president of Internet services at Lehman Brothers, which has adopted the new Netscape system, “The high-stakes nature of our business means it’s essential we do everything possible to protect the privacy of our customers. By combining directory access control with digital certificates for authentication, we are able to transmit sensitive information over the Internet to our customers.”
Netscape’s new solution includes new three major technology offerings:
Netscape Directory Server 4.0
Netscape Directory Server 4.0 has more than doubled performance from the prior version to support more than 50 million users and 5,000 queries per second. As a result, some of the largest directories in the world currently use Netscape Directory Server, including the Bell Atlantic Internet bill viewing and Citibank worldwide electronic commerce infrastructure. In these installations, Netscape Directory Server operates as a central repository of data such as passwords and user names that control users’ access, authorization and security levels.
Netscape Certificate Management System 4.0
Netscape Certificate Management System 4.0 software, a major upgrade of Netscape Certificate Server that integrates with Netscape Directory Server. The new product builds on the basic access control offered in Netscape Directory Server and allows companies to issue, manage and revoke their own x.509 public key certificates. The product works with standard Internet browsers, such as Netscape Communicator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Meta-Directory is designed to consolidate multiple directories by connecting and synchronizing disparate corporate directory data from network operating systems, and relational databases into a single source, reducing administrative costs and helping to decrease the risk of security breaches.