Microsoft Acquires Canadian Smart-Card Security Company

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2005-09-19 Print this article Print

Microsoft says the purchase will make customers better able to take advantage of the smart-card capabilities in Windows.

Microsoft Corp. bolstered its security hardware holdings Monday by announcing it has acquired digital security company Alacris Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Alacris, a privately held, Ottawa-based company founded in 1998, builds integrated management systems using PKI (public key infrastructure), smart-card deployments and biometrics for large commercial and government organizations that employ Windows-based systems. PKI uses public and private cryptographic keys and digital certificates to securely encrypt messages and data over public networks.
Microsoft is sharing an internal blueprint that it uses to reduce security flaws in Internet-facing applications. Click here to read more.
Alacris non-government customers are mainly in the pharmaceutical, health care, banking and securities, and insurance sectors. The companys core technology helps IT departments streamline the provisioning of new smart cards and the configuration of existing smart cards. The technology also provides Web-based policy-driven workflow management that helps users manage their administrative and end-user experiences, the company said. "Customers have told us that smart cards are becoming an increasingly important part of their authentication and authorization strategy," said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the security technology unit at Microsoft. "Through this acquisition, were excited to gain technology that makes it easier for customers to take advantage of the smart-card capabilities in Windows with tools to simplify smart-card life-cycle management." Windows uses smart cards and other authentication technologies on the desktop through its Active Directory and Microsoft Certificate services. However, enterprise customers are still have problems with the complexity of provisioning smart-card hardware, deploying digital certificates, managing certificate revocation, and auditing IT pro and end-user activity, the company said. Alacris co-founders Ron MacDonell and Conrad Bayer currently serve as president/CEO and vice president/CTO, respectively. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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