Used together, the new server applications are designed to boost the security of communications over the Internet, as well improve the process of locating and managing email addresses.
The Certificate Server, which is slated to ship in the third quarter for Windows NT and Unix priced at $995, will help companies improve the security of email and Web communications by issuing digital certificates, or encrypted electronic identification codes, based on the X.509v3 certificate standard.
Digital certificates are the electronic equivalent of a passport that enables users to prove their identities to each other before communicating via email. On the Web, digital certificates are used before credit card numbers or other similarly sensitive information is exchanged. In contrast to encryption technology, which scrambles Web and email communications into coded messages, digital certificates also let users sign in at membership-based Web sites without having to remember a list of passwords because their digital certificates prove their identification automatically.
"To users, it's just like having a driver's license and credit card," said Ben Horowitz, senior product manager for server products at Netscape. "You only enter your passport once."
Netscape plans to support the used of digital certificates in the email and Web portions of a future version of Navigator due out in the third quarter, Horowitz said. The Certificate Server will be delivered at about the same time frame to issue certificates to the new Navigator clients.
The Netscape Directory Server works in conjunction with the Certificate Server by managing lists of public-key certificates used to verify identities. (See "Net email directory standard emerging")
Netscape Mail Server 2.0 adds support for a new Internet standard that makes it easier for mobile users to access and manage mailboxes while away from the office. The software also supports the Internet Mail Access Protocol 4 (IMAP4). The upgrade, priced at $995, is expected to ship in the second quarter for Unix and Windows NT running on Alpha-based systems.