PKWare stretches ZIP protection

PKWare's latest offering allows one company to shoulder the cost of providing strong encryption with its partners

The company that invented Zip compression, PKWare, has announced the European launch of a programme that may encourage companies to exchange information using the encrypted SecureZip format.

The PartnerLink programme allows organisations who buy PKWare's SecureZip to distribute a free version, called SecureLink, to any number of external business partners.

This will allow the external partners to securely exchange data with the company that bought SecureZIP, without having to buy it themselves.

In today's security climate, many companies are concerned about the integrity of their data once it leaves their own network, especially if that data is financially or commercially sensitive. PKWare claims to overcome this by securely encrypting files sent between partners using PartnerLink.

A company that has bought SecureZIP can use PartnerLink to protect its communications with many partners. Each partner will be able to encrypt and decrypt communications with the controlling firm, but will not be able to decode information from other partners. Two-factor authentication is provided through either a password or digital certificate system.

"Organisations need data security more than ever because so much is happening outside the firewall," said Todd McLees, vice-president of international operations for PKWare, on Tuesday.

"It's well documented that perimeter-based technology is not enough to secure data. It's not just a matter of mobility within the organisation, but also the mobility of the data itself, which has to flow between organisations," McLees added.

Files encrypted with SecureZip are compatible across Windows, Unix, and Linux platforms; and IBM iSeries midrange and zSeries mainframe systems.

Prices are based on the platforms SecureZip sits on, said McLees, with Windows being less expensive at £25,000 at entry level. Entry level mainframe datacentre SecureZip costs between £50,000 and £80,000.

"With PartnerLink, partners don't have to budget, which is a major issue in convincing organisations to standardise," said McLees.