Survey investigates understanding of identity, trust, and legal status in an online environment
12th July 2000: Research commissioned by De La Rue InterClear - the UK’s first commercial digital Certification Authority (CA), which is due to be released later this month, suggests that UK businesses’ awareness of security is high, but misunderstandings around the Internet issues of trust, authentication and legal status are widespread.
The survey, which questioned over 300 large UK businesses, investigates the readiness of companies within the UK to deliver secure e-business services. Current results indicate that whilst the security industry has finally convinced business decision makers to promote security in their e-business agenda, it is failing dismally to ensure coherent understanding of the risks and liabilities associated with e-business services.
"This confusion is causing businesses to invest wrongly in security solutions that don’t tackle e-business challenges or to simply stand still and not embrace real e-business whatsoever. Worse still, some are blazing ahead ignoring basic business procedures that they would normally practise routinely in an off-line environment.
"The recent case of Internet auction ramping being investigated by the FBI, is an increasingly common example of companies trying to do business over the Internet without putting in place adequate, trust and identity measures. Measures that are a given in traditional business!" said Bob Carter, MD of De La Rue InterClear.
Despite a general increase in awareness of security, business decision-makers are still showing a worrying ignorance of even the most basic security technology investments.
More importantly, from a commercial aspect, is the apparent confusion surrounding crucial business values, such as legal status. Whilst companies are recognising the need for traditional business contracts to have legal status, they appear not to extend this same business sense to online e-business activities:
- Nearly 20 per cent did not recognise legal status of e-transactions as important
When questioned further about their understanding of current legal status:
- Nearly 40 per cent didn’t know if current e-transactions held legal status
On the issue of trust, for those transacting over the Net:
- 70 per cent asserted that it was important for their customers to be able to authenticate them as well as for them to authenticate their customers.
However, many were under the impression they have the problem covered by using a digital certificate residing on their server - authenticating them to their customers, but critically not the other way round.
When asked to respond to the statement ‘Only banks and government can issue legally binding digital certificates’:
- Nearly 60 per cent were unsure
- Eight per cent agreed
- 32 per cent disagreed
This underlying uncertainty should raise serious concerns as it could significantly hamper the delivery of real e-business services.
Only companies with a £5+ million turnover and 200+ employees were approached.
The survey findings are drawn from 300 telephone interviews of senior business decision -makers, across the manufacturing, retail, and pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries. Interestingly, dot.com companies were originally targeted, but eventually abandoned, as it became quickly apparent that their only means of checking identity was via credit cards.
More of the survey’s findings will be released towards the end of the month.
De La Rue InterClear
InterClear - A De La Rue Company - was established in 1997 as the UK’s first commercial digital Certification Authority (CA) to provide digital certificates authenticating individuals and companies using the Internet/Intranet/Extranet for transactions.
De La Rue InterClear designs, builds and maintains outsourced trust networks that provide identity proof and authentication to manage and reduce the legal, brand and technical risks of exploiting digital technologies.
InterClear enables companies to benefit from a PKI free from the financial and managerial burden of an in-house PKI, which demands the company to issue and manage its own certificates, and without the loss of control of an ‘open’ PKI solution that is based on third-party branded certificates often supplied by national utilities relying on inflexible technology, rules and regulations.
InterClear is a wholly owned subsidiary of De La Rue Plc (http://www.delarue.com) - the world's largest commercial security printer and papermaker, involved in the production of over 150 national currencies.
Debby Penton/Frank Davis
tel: 020 7349 2200
tel: 01784 470860
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