BT opened up the benefits of cost- effective online communications for businesses by launching two new encryption solutions that guarantee privacy to the strictest regulatory standards.
BT's new Secure Mail and Encrypted Message Exchange (BT EMX) services will run on LogicaCMG's globally managed and dedicated ASP (application services provider) platform, allowing businesses to communicate directly with customers, employees and partners via secure email or internet portals.
The technology, based on public key infrastructure (PKI), is designed to run on existing infrastructures.
Businesses, previously hampered by privacy concerns enshrined in regulatory programmes like the EU Data Protection Directive, can now slash costs and build new revenue-generating services by turning to secure and convenient online communications.
"Every business knows that online communication is fast, convenient and cost-effective," says Ray Stanton, the global head of BT's business continuity, security and governance practice.
"But heavily regulated management teams, in industries like financial services, government and healthcare, have simply refused to risk exposing private details without watertight safeguards.
Today we can finally offer businesses all the benefits without the unwanted risks."
Business users can now send and receive sensitive information, such as bank statements, business tenders and bills, over the public internet without fear of security or privacy breaches.
A simple click of a "secure" button downloaded to an existing email system will encrypt the message until it reaches the intended recipient.
The simplicity of both Secure Mail and Encrypted Message Exchange, both powered by Echoworx, a leading software security provider, make them attractive to businesses that have generally found digital certificates too difficult to implement and use.
Despite the clear benefits only one-fifth of UK companies have employed digital certificates to safeguard their electronic communications.(1)
Many businesses will favour the Secure Mail option when sending email messages to employees and trading partners.
For example, a sensitive tender process needs absolute security and privacy.
The Encrypted Message Exchange is more suitable for businesses communicating with large numbers of users via a secure web portal, setup either as part of an intranet or extranet.
One such example application could involve a bank transacting securely and privately with its small business customers.