V-ONE expands focus to federal EC business

Although most of Ken Newcomer's work experience has been steeped in the well-trodden areas of Internet and electronic commerce technologies in the federal divisions of MCI and Electronic Data Systems Corp. his new endeavor at the Rockville Md.-based V-ONE Corp. finds him focusing on a niche within these markets that he believes has not yet completely matured.

With the explosion of the Internet and the associated potential for widespread EC under way Newcomer said he felt the key enabling technology yet to be tapped to fully exploit this powerful new network was the security piece. That is what he said attracted him in February to the job of vice president and general manager of V-ONE's Government Systems Division.

Since its inception in 1993 V-ONE had been known primarily as a firewall vendor targeting mainly Defense and intelligence agencies. Its federal customers include the State Treasury and Interior departments the Army the Air Force the Defense Investigative Services and the National Security Agency.

Its product line still prominently features firewalls - it markets a firewall that was one of four products certified by NSA as meeting the requirements for use by the Defense Department's Defense Message System. Just last month V-ONE announced that the Marine Corps has purchased its firewall products to protect its enterprise network.

In late February the company announced plans to expand its reach into the security arena by marketing a complete product package geared toward securing electronic commerce.

"What V-ONE enables through our [virtual private networking (VPN)] technology is the ability to conduct business securely across the Internet " Newcomer said. "In the same way the firewall really took off the next step will be the VPN business."

Seeing the Big Picture Newcomer said while the potential for EC in the government often has been viewed narrowly in terms of enabling federal procurement V-ONE has set it sights on broader uses such as intra-agency applications that are designed to streamline operations and check costs while accommodating existing end user technologies.

For example the Defense Information Systems Agency's Anti-Drug Network employs V-ONE's SmartWall product to allow law enforcement users from various heterogeneous environments to access data from the network remotely. Another agency which Newcomer declined to name has tapped V-ONE to secure a database that needs to be available to more than 10 000 end users from various departments.

"You've got to know who you're dealing with across cyberspace " Newcomer said. "You've got to keep the data private and you've got to control what the [end user] can do."

With 40 to 45 percent of the company's third-quarter 1997 revenue generated by federal sales Newcomer said the key to the company's penetration into the market has been its strategy to mold its products to the government's unique needs.

"We are very focused on the federal government and our products are commercially successful and meet the needs of the market in general but we also make sure to address unique federal government needs in [commercial off-the-shelf] technology " Newcomer said. "At the end of the day they are faced with unique challenges just from the scale for one and their mission. We look at how we can enhance the mission-oriented objective beyond just the pure security " he said.

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