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By Jacqueline Emigh  |  Posted 2005-08-31 Print this article Print

The company is aiming most of its RFID security efforts in North America at retail chains. England declined to name the companys retail customers. But, he said, some of the chains consist of 5,000 stores or more.
"We were the first to provide strong security for older devices [used in retail stores] on 802.11 networks," according to England. "Vendors would come to use with some obscure OS made 20 years ago. They wanted to make sure itd run [securely] with everything else on the wireless network."
Some U.S. military customers will also be using Columbitechs RFID security for inventory management on their wireless networks. Yet most of the companys work with U.S. military organizations revolves instead around providing strong authentication for wireless (or "contactless") smart cards adhering to the U.S. federal governments FIPS 140-2 protocol. The Columbitech WVPN is already certified for FIPS 140-2. It is now in the process of being certified for the U.S. Department of Defenses Common Criteria specification. Meanwhile, some analysts perceive a greater need for RFID security in military applications than in the retail arena. "[RFID security] in retail applications has been a little overblown. For the Wal-Marts of the world, RFID is mostly about tracking boxes of stuff. Theres no major security issue," said Tony Rizzo, an analyst at the 451 Group. "But on the military side of things, security becomes more important, since RFID is being used in tracking shipments of military hardware." Columbitech has "strong roots" in the military because of its close relationship to Symbol Technologies Inc., a maker of RFID and other mobile devices, according to the analyst. England said that, at this point, Columbitech is also thinking about breaking out its Wireless VPN Suite into a series of smaller products, along the lines of what Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. has done with its product portfolio. "Then, our [own] portfolio would be somewhat like a smorgasbord," England said. "Customers could say, I want this, but I dont want that." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.


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