North Dakota Installs PKI

North Dakota recently selected Entrust Technologies Inc. to provide a public-key infrastructure for state government operations to create a secure environment for its employees to access confidential information on North Dakota residents.

The state's Information Technology Department chose the Plano, Texas-based company to provide secure electronic communications and access to information, said Dean Glatt, the ITD's associate director. "The Entrust suite of products addresses not only our e-mail encryption requirements but our need to have a PKI that our security personnel can control," he said. "We currently have the infrastructure in place and are working the scheme to make it beneficial to all the [state] agencies."

Glatt said the infrastructure purchases cost about $40,000, but that the state and Entrust are still negotiating the licensing aspect of the solution. "We're negotiating for an enterprisewide solution," he said. "Without it, administering those licenses [to different agencies and clients] would be a nightmare."

ITD has completed some internal World Wide Web authentication pilot projects with a dual focus on maintaining long-term control of the digital keys and certificates used in secure electronic communications, and continued access to the encrypted information contained in their computer systems.

The Secretary of State's office is reviewing North Dakota's digital signature strategy, and the PKI system will help bring closure to that process, Glatt said.

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