The agent includes public key cryptography that can secure transactions between parties that use incompatible security systems, according to the company.
TradeWave's agent technology, which the company claims is the first of its kind, will be used by a group of 250 electric utilities and electrical power brokers who trade capacity on transmission lines. That transmission marketplace trades $20 billion in electricity annually.
Using agent technology also means that security systems can be upgraded more easily because only the software agent needs to be changed. Altering application software for both Web browser and Web server won't be necessary, saving corporate computing departments considerable money, Tradewave officials say.
"The software agent gets inserted into the communications stream on both the client and the server side," said Alexander Cavalli, TradeWave's chief technology officer. "It doesn't matter what browser is talking to what server, because the communication goes through the agent. The agent itself contains all the security mechanisms."
That security architecture means security agents can be upgraded regularly without altering Web browser or Web server software, he said. It also means that new software applications can be added to corporate intranets without worrying about security, which will be handled by the security agent.
"We look at this as the next wave of Internet security," Cavalli said.
TradeWave's agent is in beta testing now with about a dozen customers in financial services, health care, government and telecommunications. It's due for release next month with an upgrade by year's end that plugs into the application layer of Internet protocols. Pricing has not been announced.
TradeWave, a subsidiary of SunRiver, expects its technology to be attractive to companies that have set up intranets and want to upgrade their security without scuttling their entire investment to date and start over.
Its trade agents also will make it easier for departmental intranets within larger enterprises to conform to companywide security policies, Cavalli said. TradeWave's technology also will simplify matters for companies whose employees use different Web browsers with different security protocol.