Called the RSA BSafe Data Security Manager, this middleware allows application developers to implement security features without having specialized knowledge and experience in security programming, said Chris Parkerson, senior product manager with RSA Security Inc., based in Bedford, Mass.
Recent news reports about the theft of private account information for several hundred thousand customers from data brokers Choicepoint and LexisNexis highlights why enterprises need to build effective security into critical data-access applications, Parkerson said.
Enterprises are concerned about whether they have the resources in-house to improve application security.
Implementing features such as digital signing and encryption "has been very hard work, and very expensive work, requiring people who have a certain level of security knowledge and experience," Parkerson said.
The goal of the BSafe Data Security Manager is to make these features "available to every level of corporate developer" so developers can implement data encryption for every enterprise application that potentially exposes sensitive customer data, he said.
The middleware allows security experts to make the decisions about what security policies and features are required by an application, while the programmer implements the policies.
Some organizations do a decent job of implementing security features in key database applications, Parkerson said. However, frequently they will leave security gaps in other applications that are deemed less critical, but are just as vulnerable, such as point-of-sale applications, he said.
The BSafe middleware gives corporate developers the ability to close these security gaps without hiring security programming specialists, who are expensive and hard to find given the demand for their skills these days in both government and the private sector, Parkerson said.
The middleware allows security experts to make the decisions about what security policies and features are required by an application, while the programmer implements the policies. Thus the security expert doesnt have to be an experienced application developer and the developer doesnt have to be an expert in security programming.
"We are trying to put security decisions in the hands of people who understand security" and programming decision in the hands of developers who understand programming procedures, he said.
The middleware allows companies to implement policy-based encryption and security mechanisms that dont require painstaking low-level programming to implement, Parkerson said. The middleware allows application developers to change security policies without having to make significant changes in the application code, he said.
The middleware will help companies address the uncertainty they have about whether they are implementing security properly in their critical business applications, according to Ray Wagner, research vice president with Gartner Research Inc. in Stamford, Conn.
"Organizations often have little confidence that they have implemented security controls property because of the high level of sophistication required, and the result is too often an expensive or even embarrassing scramble when a problem is found after rollout," Wagner said in a statement.
"The concept of a centralized, policy-based approach to providing security to and within applications," Wagner said, "may allow organizations to more easily control and audit application security, as well as change security polices over time without re-engineering applications."
The middleware package supports multiple programming languages, including Visual Basic, C++, C# and Java, Parkerson said.
The BSafe Data Security Manager will be ready for delivery in late September and will cost $50,000 for a developer license and $250,000 for an enterprise site license, according to company officials.