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Software locks up extranets

Recently returned to profitability, Internet security vendor Secure Computing will ship this month new software for securing extranets.

Recently returned to profitability, Internet security vendor Secure Computing (SCUR) will ship this month new software for securing extranets.

SecureWire is designed to give a company's business partners or customers "escorted access" to selected data on a company's Web site without giving them free rein to go anywhere they want. For audit purposes, it creates a log of who gained access, and which data they retrieved.

The software also gives organizations the option of decentralized decision-making about content, allowing authorized "data owners" in a department to give access to specific data to certain outsiders without going through MIS. As an option, that authority can be kept centrally with MIS or with a security administrator.

Daniel Dorr, a Secure product marketing manager, said, "An extranet requires a lot of infrastructure changes. We're giving a quick-and-dirty solution."

Secure Computing changed its management team a year ago, vowing to break even by the end of 1997. In earnings reported January 27, the company reported a 2 cents per share profit ($305,000) for the fourth quarter on revenues of $12.8 million. SecureWire is the first product to result from a series of acquisitions Secure Computing made in 1996.

SecureWire can create a secure extranet quickly and without installing special software on Web servers and client machines, Dorr said, adding that it could reduce costs by two-thirds. The product allows access through Java-enabled Web browsers.

By opening internal databases to designated outsiders, SecureWire eliminates a commonly used practice of replicating data onto a separate Web server for an extranet. Replication typically means data on the extranet is not as current.

Initially SecureWire will use fixed passwords for access, but Secure Computing intends to support strong authentication through one-time passwords by supporting the RADIUS protocol. Later it also plans to support hardware tokens and digital certificates.

The company is targeting the product to the health care, financial services, and manufacturing industries as well as ISPs that offer hosting or security services.

SecureWire--which works with any firewall, not just Secure's own firewall offerings--will be available this month from Secure Computing and its resellers, starting at $11,500 for a five-server license. It works with Microsoft's Internet Information Server or Netscape Communication's Enterprise Server on the Solaris operating system.