RSA: VeriSign links with Microsoft on authentication

VeriSign Inc. on Wednesday announced a partnership with Microsoft Corp. to deliver authentication services for Windows Server 2003 that it claims will be cheaper and easier to install than current offerings.

The partnership builds on an existing relationship between the companies announced last June when Microsoft and VeriSign said they were teaming up to provide PKI (public key infrastructure) security services for Windows Server 2003.

The authentication services will use and extend Microsoft protocols that VeriSign licensed last year, it said in a statement. Users will be able to distribute desktop PKI credentials and include support for a variety of strong, multifactor authentication options such as smart cards and security tokens, VeriSign said.

Furthermore, these user authentication products will also work with several Microsoft applications, including secure VPN (virtual private network), wireless LAN access and secured e-mail, VeriSign said. Systems administrators will be able to use Microsoft tools to manage users and provision credentials, the company said.

The authentication services will include one of the first reference implementations of the Open Authentication Reference Architecture (OATH), which VeriSign announced earlier this week. OATH is intended to replace the patchwork of proprietary products for user authentication and provisioning currently used on the Internet, allowing users to seamlessly access services on corporate networks and the Web, VeriSign has said.

VeriSign planned to show a beta version of the authentication services at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. General availability is slated for midyear, the company said. Pricing and licensing details were not announced.

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