The National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) has endorsed Internet security and services company eSign Australia with three accreditations under the Federal Government's Gatekeeper strategy to facilitate secure business-to-government e-commerce.eSign, the Australian subsidiary of VeriSign, has attained accreditation as both a Registration Authority (RA) and a Certification Authority (CA). This makes eSign the first company in Australia to be able to both register and issue digital Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates.
The PKI certificates are used by organisations and government agencies to conduct secure transactions with the Federal Government over the Internet. The Government's Gatekeeper strategy established in 1988, requires government agencies to only use digital PKI certificates from Gatekeeper accredited sources.
The company is now also authorised to issue Australian Business Number Digital Signing Certificates (ABN-DSC) that enable companies to use their ABN as their digital identity when dealing with different government agencies, rather than having to use a separate certificate for each transaction.
Gregg Rowley, managing director of eSign Australia, claims the combined accreditations as CA, RA and ABN-DSC gives the security company a complete solution for organisations looking to conduct electronic transactions with the Government.
Rowley would not comment on the revenue targets eSign hopes to achieve with the three accreditations but was willing to confirm it had taken a multimillion dollar investment to achieve these and would be looking to recoup that investment in two to three years.
"Obviously with this sort of investment we are wanting to make a profit," said Rowley at a press conference in Sydney yesterday. "The market for digital certificates will grow exponentially, and we'd be looking for a break even point in the next couple of years."
Meanwhile, John Rimmer, the recently appointed CEO of NOIE, claims the accreditation of eSign re-enforces the Government's push to promote trust in e-commerce.
Rimmer said it was a key concern of the government at all levels to promote trust in conducting transactions online or else B2B and e-commerce will not take off potentially leaving Australian organisations the Internet wake.
He also did not rule out the possibility of using the CA and RA Gatekeeper standards in B2B e-commerce and suggested a number of State Governments are also looking to adopt the Gatekeeper strategy.
Photograph: Gregg Rowley, managing director of eSign Australia