E-security specialist, Baltimore Technologies has secured a contract with Telstra to roll-out Australia's first government-to-government and business-to-government e-commerce system.
The agreement signals Telstra's entry into the commercial Certificate Authority market, a strategic move designed to give it a pivotal position in the lucrative hierarchy of digital trust.
"In the paper based world there are four corner stones to business transactions - integrity of data, non-repudiation, authentication and confidentiality," said John Palfreyman, managing director of Baltimore Asia Pacific. "The Certificate Authority is about transferring these key elements across to the digital world."
Palfreyman said the deal stems from John Howard's assertion, labeled 'project Gatekeeper', that the majority of government services will be offered online by 2003.
Telstra plans to establish an advanced Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) environment for government agencies and businesses requiring the use of government services across the Internet using Baltimore Certificates Australia. "Anyone who wants to do business with the government is going to need a public key that is Gatekeeper compliant," said Palfreyman.
Baltimore has bypassed its traditional method of engaging its channel partners on the Telstra deal, however Palfreyman explained in reality Telstra is more of a partner than a customer.
"This is a lot more than a software transaction for us. There are services and integration - we are basically offering an end to end solution. It's very rare that Baltimore will throw a CD over the fence and say give us a call if you need anything."
The Telstra infrastructure is the first private certificate authority service in Australia to be awarded national accreditation under the Gatekeeper system, making it a highly strategic position for the telco turned service provider.
While financial details of the deal were undisclosed, Palfreyman says that similar deals in world markets are big business, not just in terms of certification but through opportunities for bundling and access.