nCipher Redefines ROI for Cryptographic Security with First FIPS-validated Shareable Hardware Security Module

nCipher plc announces the netHSM™, an advanced network-attached hardware security module (HSM) that reduces the cost of deploying cryptographic solutions across the enterprise to protect sensitive information and corporate intellectual property.

Cambridge, UK - 6 October 2003 – nCipher plc (LSE:NCH), a leading provider of cryptographic IT security solutions, today announced the netHSM™, an advanced network-attached hardware security module (HSM) that reduces the cost of deploying cryptographic solutions across the enterprise to protect sensitive information and corporate intellectual property. With the new netHSM, nCipher customers are now able to share a single centralized security resource across multiple servers and applications ranging from Web sites using SSL through user authentication and remote access to digital rights management and Web services.

While traditional HSMs are deployed on a one-to-one basis with individual servers, nCipher’s netHSM allows multiple applications to access hardware-based encryption, decryption and signing functions via secure connections over IP networks. This greatly enhances shareability and scalability, reduces deployment costs and centralizes administration. Customers that adopt best practices and deploy hardware-based security now have more flexibility to architect systems, enforce security policies and manage budgets.

“These days, return on investment is critical. Of course, with security, organizations need to follow best practice but they also need to look at the total cost of ownership of all of their security technologies; how they scale, how easy they are to manage, how simply they integrate into existing infrastructure,” says Graham Titterington, principal analyst and security expert with Ovum. “The netHSM passes a lot of these tests - a secure cryptographic module that is compatible with existing nCipher HSMs and that can be shared by multiple servers - this opens up new opportunities to deploy hardware security in areas that organisations would previously have found difficult to justify."

In line with other nCipher HSM products, the security properties of the netHSM have been independently validated to the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 level 3 - one of the most stringent standards in the IT security industry. The netHSM boasts superior processing performance required to handle multiple servers and applications and is capable of performing up to 1600 RSA operations per second (based on 1024 bit keys) including digital signing operations and SSL session initiation. In addition to supporting a wide variety of cryptographic algorithms, nCipher’s netHSM supports software applications from leading security vendors including the major Web and application server platforms and commercial PKI software.

nCipher’s new netHSM complements the existing family of nShield and nForce dedicated HSMs. Both families can be integrated with nCipher’s powerful Security World key management architecture to deploy flexible combinations of different types of HSMs to best suit requirements and ensure that investment in nCipher’s HSM technology is always protected.

“The launch of the netHSM is a direct response to market demand for greater choice in deploying hardware-based security. The widespread dependence on cryptography for the protection of customer privacy and corporate intellectual property is causing many organizations to question the robustness of their systems,” said Simon Avarne, vice president, Product Management at nCipher. “As more organizations consider their deployment options for adopting hard security, the common themes of scalability, flexibility and ease of use emerge. With the netHSM, we have focused on delivering all these elements in a network-attached, shareable package that ensures interoperability with our existing and field-proven family of dedicated HSMs.”

About nCipher: nCipher is redefining cryptographic security to protect points of risk across the enterprise - from network appliances to Web servers, to custom software applications and back-end databases. nCipher provides hardware and software solutions that enable organizations to implement best practice security by addressing the challenges of cryptographic key management and performance. Many of the world's leading organizations - from Microsoft and Barclays Bank to PricewaterhouseCoopers and the U.S. Navy - rely on nCipher to deliver a sound e-security infrastructure. nCipher's products are particularly well suited to organizations with high volumes of security-sensitive transactions, such as banking and financial institutions, government departments, e-retailers and online service providers. nCipher is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:NCH) and is a member of the FTSE TechMARK and FTSE4Good indices with offices in Cambridge, UK; Boston, Seattle, Paris, Hamburg, Singapore and Tokyo. For more information on nCipher, visit http://www.ncipher.com