CIBC and Telus create standalone security firm

Telus Corp. and CIBC announced Tuesday plans to forge a new, independent company that will offer Canadians an extra layer of security for their e-commerce transactions.

The new company will become the primary Canadian provider of digital security services from U.S. vendor VeriSign, which is also investing money in the venture.

According to officials, the yet to be named entity will provide Web site security, secure e-commerce transactions and conduct enterprise authentication using VeriSign’s public key infrastructure (PKI) technology to issue and manage digital credentials for signing transactions.

It will also be active in the online merchant payment space by handling digital transactions between buyers and sellers.

Telus and CIBC currently deliver PKI services in Canada as part of the VeriSign trust network, which, according to the companies, uses common technology, operating practices and infrastructure to establish secure communications and transactions on the Internet. Under terms of the alliance, Telus and CIBC will combine their PKI services to deliver a Canadian “national trust infrastructure” for secure online and wireless commerce.

“This transaction advances by over a year Telus’ plans for providing this crucial service to customers,” said Mark Schnarr, Telus’ executive vice-president and president of Telus Ventures, in a prepared press statement.

According to David Marshall, CIBC vice-chairman of e-commerce, operations and technology, “today’s announcement that we are continuing that success and joining forces with Telus . . . is simply the next logical step in the expansion of this business and the realization of our e-commerce vision.”

A recent study by Framingham, Mass.-based research firm IDC found that the public key infrastructure (PKI) marketplace is quickly evolving into an important technology for improved business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce. IDC predicts the total market for PKI products and certificate authority services will accelerate at a compound annual growth rate of 61 per cent, from US$281 million in 1999 to US$3 billion in 2004.

CIBC in Toronto is at

Telus Corp. in Burnaby, B.C., is at

VeriSign in Mountain View, Calif., is at