VeriSign wins Bureau of Land Management PKI service

(Updated Feb. 20, 2003, 2:20 p.m.)

VeriSign Inc., Mountain View, Calif., will provide an agencywide public-key infrastructure service for a new smart-card personnel identification system being developed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The company estimates that extending the service to the bureau will generate "hundreds of thousands" in annual charges for the company, said Barry Leffew, VeriSign's vice president overseeing its public sector group.

The service will be part of a bureauwide, smart-card-based security system to be put in place over the next 12 to 24 months, Leffew said Feb. 4. It will serve all 13,000 bureau personnel.

This work will the first PKI deployment to be put in place across an entire civilian agency, Leffew said.

The system follows a 1,000-seat pilot that was deployed in Reno, Nev., last year. The smart cards will provide access to physical resources and computer systems.

The solution, which will be developed in-house, will use the same hardware configuration that the Defense Department uses for its Common Access Card program, Leffew said.

The Defense Department program will issue 3.3 million access cards to military personnel and contractors. The cards will serve as physical identification and provide access to both facilities and systems.

Like the Defense Department program, the bureau will use a card management system from ActivCard Corp., Fremont, Calif..

Smart card authentication will be done remotely by VeriSign. Charges will be based on number of users and will be billed monthly or yearly.

"Instead of spending tens of millions of dollars needed for hardware and software, the bureau is turning to VeriSign to provide the service as a utility," Leffew said. "The bureau controls whose cards and certificates are issued to. It's the back-end infrastructure that VeriSign is providing."

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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