WASHINGTON SafeNet Inc. has decided to turn its Secure Internet Protocol technology into a suite of licensable software and hardware elements, and to possibly expand its semiconductor partnerships beyond an existing alliance with Analog Devices Inc. At the ComNet conference, SafeNet announced a pact with Centillium Communications Inc., a supplier of digital subscriber line chip sets that plans to use SafeNet's SecureIP software in a new line of security access chips.
At ComNet, SafeNet (Baltimore) buried all vestiges of its former name, Information Resource Engineering Inc., its moniker since it was founded by a team of ex-National Security Agency engineers in the late 1980s. IRE changed its name last year in preparation for an initial public offering, and took the name of its most popular OEM security product. SafeNet chairman and chief executive Tony Caputo said that his company's expanded Secure IP program does not mean a lessening of SafeNet's alliance with Analog Devices, but instead represents an effort to license intellectual property in the security realm in whatever form system or component suppliers request.
Client software is increasing in importance as a revenue stream for SafeNet. The company has announced a pact with the former UUNet Technologies group of Worldcom that will see Worldcom will make SafeNet's Soft-PK package the basis of its Secure virtual private network (VPN) service offering.
Matt Robison, director of research and senior vice president for Ferris Baker Watts, a Washington investment firm, said that SafeNet's various initiatives complement each other by widening the company's customer base. He said that Analog Devices and SafeNet will continue their close ties in offering ADI's next-generation AD2142 high-end IPsec processor, while the Centillium alliance and future chip pacts give SafeNet "increased exposures to opportunities in the semiconductor space."
SafeNet has defined many security functions as software routines or as synthesizable modules that can be integrated into single-chip designs, said SafeNet chief technology officer Mike Kaplan. This gives a customer the option of implementing an IPsec or VPN function as a system-on-a-chip function, as a card-level accelerator, or as a standalone system function.
SafeNet has also signed a pact with Zone Labs Inc. (San Francisco), developer of the ZoneAlarm personal firewall, which will allow SafeNet to include ZoneAlarm software functions in the mix of features it offers as embedded licensed elements at the chip or system level.