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VeriSign to stand guard for U.S. Bancorp

A multiyear deal to manage security services for the financial institution lends a push to VeriSign's drive to persuade corporations to turn over security to it.

Security vendor VeriSign is expected to announce on Tuesday that it has landed a multiyear contract with U.S. Bancorp, its second major deal in less than a year to manage security services for a large financial institution.

Under the agreement, VeriSign will monitor and manage over 100 security devices, including network-based intrusion detection systems, for U.S. Bancorp. The security devices perform such tasks as analyzing traffic, monitoring intrusion attempts and responding with such actions as updating signature files.

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"(Managed security services) is one of the fastest growing areas for VeriSign," said Ben Golub, senior vice president of marketing at the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

In May last year, VeriSign announced a similar deal with Merrill Lynch, to provide managed security services, or MSS. Under that particular contract, however, VeriSign managed 300 security devices.

Merrill Lynch validated the use of MSS, and U.S. Bancorp is a confirmation of that trend, according to Golub. That both institutions have signed contracts for MSS services suggests that even corporations sophisticated in information technology, such as banks, can use these services to enhance their security, he said.

"The MSS contribution is the glue by which we tie together a number of services we already provide...network security, application security, transaction security and strong authentication," Golub said.

VeriSign, which has generated $1.2 billion in annual revenue, entered the managed security services market a little over two years ago. Since then, it has supplemented its push with such acquisitions as that of Guardent, a privately held provider of managed security services.

In the case of U.S. Bancorp, VeriSign already had an existing relationship with the bank to provide digital certificates to secure its Internet communications with customers.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.