• United States



by Paul Kerstein

Sun Promotes Encrypted E-mail Service

Nov 17, 20053 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Sun, Lucent and Echoworx are banding together to provide an encryptionservice that can save businesses from having to build their owninfrastructure to secure e-mail.

Called Sun Secure Mail, the service will be sold to ISPs and othercarriers that can sell it to customers, be it businesses or consumers.While ISPs would set the retail price, Sun says it thinks that could bebetween US$5 and $10 per user per month based on what it will chargethe ISPs for the wholesale service.

Sun hasn’t named any service providers that are going to buy it, but itsays a U.S. phone carrier/ISP is to announce on Nov. 28 a service basedon Sun Secure Mail., an ISP for midsize businesses, says it is evaluating theservice and plans to offer an encrypted e-mail service next year. SunSecure Mail could let secure customer e-mail without having toinvest in its own hardware and software, says David Ramon, president

The company three years ago ran an encrypted e-mail service based onhardware and software it bought, but it posed so many problems that hediscontinued the service. Now, with heightened concerns about security,customers are again seeking such a service, he says.

An encrypted e-mail service might be attractive to businesses that wante-mail encryption but lack the resources to set up their own, says AnneMacFarland, director of infrastructure architecture and solutions forClipper Group. Setting up public-key infrastructure for encryption iscomplex and costly, and outsourcing it can at least keep the annualcosts predictable for budget purposes. “Doing encryption yourself issomething that could suddenly create a lot of workload if somethinggoes wrong, and you don’t know when it will,” MacFarland says.

Hardware for the service will be based in a Lucent Worldwide Servicesnetwork operations center in Broomfield, Colo., and Lucent will takecare of provisioning the services. Echoworx technology authenticatesusers and encrypts the e-mails, and Sun is coordinating the effort andproviding the servers needed to support the service.

Customers that have signed up for a retail subscription to Sun SecureMail can go to the carrier’s provisioning site and download a softwareplug-in for Microsoft’s Outlook, Outlook Express or BlackBerry e-mail.The plug-in creates a “secure” button next to the “send” button in thee-mail application. Clicking it encrypts the e-mail.

If it is sent to someone who also subscribes to Sun Secure Mail, itgoes directly to them and their machine decrypts it. If not, therecipient gets an e-mail telling him to pick up the e-mail at a SunSecure Mail site, where he provides a preshared, secret such as hismother’s maiden name. He can then open the e-mail on his Web browser.

By Tim Greene – Network World (US online)