nCipher celebrates its 10th anniversary as encryption goes mainstream

Cryptography increasingly plays a central role in the fight to protect critical enterprise information, according to nCipher plc (LSE:NCH), a global leader in protecting critical enterprise data, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.

Founded in late 1996, nCipher developed the world's first security module specifically designed to protect private personal information as it was transmitted over the internet. The familiar 'padlock' icon in the corner of a web browser window was, for most people, their first exposure to digital encryption and it has rapidly become a vital enabling technology in the growth of e-commerce. Today encryption is being applied ever more widely to protect sensitive data throughout enterprises, both at rest within databases or storage systems, while being processed within software applications, and in transit.

"Digital data now is no more sensitive than it was ten years ago, but there is now even more of it and even more people want access to it anytime and from any location, so business agility has become the name of the game." says Alex van Someren, chief executive officer at nCipher. "The challenge now for many companies is to open up their internal systems for greater flexibility, while at the same time recognising the extremely high level of scrutiny and regulatory pressure around the privacy and integrity of personal and corporate information. With traditional network boundaries disappearing, this more 'data-centric' approach to security means that critical information needs protecting wherever it is. Cryptography, the science of encryption, can do this and nCipher's business is to help ensure it is done efficiently and securely."

"While enterprises increasingly need to deploy a strong cryptographic foundation for data security, the focus now is less on details, such as algorithms and key lengths, and more on practices and policies. It is just as important to manage the distribution and recovery of cryptographic keys, and control the rights to access those keys, to secure the data they protect," says Dr Nicko van Someren, chief technology officer at nCipher: "Get it wrong, and management costs will explode. Worse still, lose the keys and there is the potential for creating the equivalent of a giant electronic document shredder since encrypted data can effectively never be recovered without the correct key."

nCipher is building on its history of advanced security technology to create solutions which enable organisations to define who can access critical data, to protect data both in transit and at rest, and to comply with the growing volume of privacy-driven legislation and regulations. In technology terms this means a tight integration between cryptography, identity management, strong authentication, workflow administration and auditing functions.

"Ten years after the foundation of nCipher, the use of cryptography is rapidly becoming mainstream. Microsoft's latest Vista operating system contains important new security features, including better protection of data with encryption, while PCs and laptops from most of the leading computer companies now contain hardware chips dedicated to encryption and protecting keys." says Alex van Someren. "Looking to the future, nCipher's core cryptographic expertise and strong financial position ensure that it is ideally positioned to help its customers around the world deploy complete enterprise data protection solutions, while managing cost and complexity, to demonstrate regulatory compliance."

About nCipher
nCipher protects critical enterprise data for many of the world's most security-conscious organizations. Delivering solutions in the fields of identity management, data protection, enterprise key management and cryptographic hardware, nCipher enables businesses to identify who can access data, to protect data in transit and at rest, and to comply with the growing number of privacy-driven regulations. nCipher plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:NCH).

nCipher solutions at a glance:

Data Encryption
nCipher's data protection suite combines encryption software, robust access controls and cryptographic hardware to deliver critical data security across the extended enterprise. This allows information to be secured at the application, database, file or document level across multiple locations.

Enterprise Key Management
nCipher offers centralised cryptographic key management and automated key delivery to distributed applications and geographically dispersed locations. This drives lower operational costs and increased accountability by unifying and automating this critical aspect of security management.

Identity Management
Last year nCipher acquired a major stake in Abridean Inc., a leading provider of user management and provisioning systems, to enable organisations to automate and manage all activities associated with adding, maintaining and removing users, their digital identities, credentials and entitlements. Their software solution delivers centralised management of security policies and access privileges to critical applications, data and resources.

Cryptographic Hardware
nCipher's range of Federally-validated cryptographic hardware platforms allow organisations to go beyond software based security techniques to secure encryption and signing keys, protect sensitive application code, prove the authenticity of documents and accelerate SSL and other high capacity cryptographic operations.

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