Start-up serves up secure hosted nets

By Michael Martin, Network World |  Security

SAN FRANCISCO -- Start-up SilverTech is targeting an offering it calls a
private Internet engine (PIE) service at security-conscious vertical markets
that need to tightly control network access to sensitive applications and
information.

El St. John, SilverTech's founder and CEO, says PIE is based on a patented
technology that includes "a combination of hardware, software, configuration
and design to keep information safe and secure for those markets that require
it."

Ingredients incorporated into PIE include a connection to an off-Internet
backbone through a provider such as PSINet, a server farm hosted at a secure
third-party data center, firewalls, VeriSign certificates for authentication,
AppGate for application access control, 156-bit encryption and client-side
software that allows users to directly dial in to the data center through the
off-Internet backbone.

Once a company or government agency signs up with SilverTech and establishes
its secure server farm and applications, end users who need access will be
given a CD-ROM containing secure dialer software. End users will install the
dialer onto their workstations and connect with the browser associated with the
dialer, rather than their usual Internet software, to access the secure server
farm.

PIE isn't a virtual private network, extranet or filter, St. John says,
although it incorporates elements of all three.

"What we're trying to do is bring information off the Internet and through
these multiple layers of security so we can get to C2 certification," St. John
explains. C2 is a security standard required by some government agencies and
private companies.

Already in use

SilverTech is already using PIE to host eKIDS
Internet, a private network for children. eKIDS takes content off the Internet,
and after ensuring it is appropriate for children, removes any advertising and
serves the content back up over its own network.

The service is free for six months and costs $12 per month after the free
period.

SilverTech's technology partners include Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and hosting
firm AboveNet. HP and Cisco also provided start-up funding.

Clients signing on with SilverTech will have their applications housed on HP
servers and their network connections handled by Cisco switching gear.

St. John says SilverTech will use a variety of hosting partners so it can
house a client's servers in a geographic location appropriate for the client.

PIE is available immediately. Prices will start around $580,000, St. John
says, but she expects most builds to cost more than $1 million. The vendor is
willing to take over full management responsibility for a client's server farm,
but St. John adds that because of security concerns many clients may not want
to hand over full control.

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