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IBM, HP, and EMC press for encryption key juggler spec

Push unified protocol though open standards org

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Any key management platform will be able to communicate across all of a company's encryption systems - if IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Thales, and EMC have their way.

The companies today said they're heading a group of vendors proposing a standardized encryption management specification through the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).

Known as KMIP (Key Management Interoperability Protocol), the protocol is a scheme to lower drawbridges between different vendor's encryption systems that require keys and the key management systems that generate and store them.

The vendors proposing KMIP say that enterprise firms often use separate encryption platforms for in different situations: on laptops, for storage, in databases and applications, etc. Alas, this results in extra time and effort to manage each platform and occasionally lost data.

An open standard would let a business to use a single key management infrastructure to manage keys for all encryption systems that require symmetric keys, asymmetric key pairs, certificates, and other security objects, they say.

Other big names in the biz like Brocade, LSI, Netapp, and Seagate are also on board for the technical committee formed to work on the group's open standards track. The vendors ]aim to deliver KMIP-enabled encryption applications that can communicate with compatible KMIP key management servers.

The group says KMIP is ready for adoption and developed to support other industry standardization efforts and complement application-specific standards projects like IEEE 1619.3 for storage and OASIS EKMI. They claim KMIP will address a broader scope than related efforts.

OASIS executive director Laurent Liscia applauded the group for advancing the KMIP though the open standards process and encouraged other vendors and customers in the security community to participate in the standardization.

Additional details on the KMIP can be found here. ®

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