Communicator Inc., a provider of communications solutions, is making available a white paper about secure communications within and across multiple companies, resulting from research collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The paper, written by Daniel Greenwood, Esq., director of MIT's eCommerce Architecture Program, introduces the concept of the online gated community, compares it to other approaches to architecting secure extended enterprises, and describes how companies provide the framework and operational functions necessary to extend the enterprise while protecting its borders.
The paper focuses on the problem of extending an enterprise by opening up systems and operations, while at the same time maintaining or tightening security and risk management to protect an organization's assets. Greenwood identifies the online gated community as the best way to address the dilemma of proliferating heterogeneous networked systems and user identity schemes. He also describes how existing information technologies and new types of network service providers enable gated communities and cross-boundary business integration as a solution. According to Greenwood, such business opportunities provide avenues for direct cost reductions, greater productivity, and new revenue sources.
The paper also defines the five basic building blocks of an online gated community and provides examples of how industries such as the public sector, financial services, and pharmaceuticals can benefit from the concept. According to Greenwood, the building blocks are: Identity Management, Authorization and Workflow; Messaging, Presence and Collaboration; Content Aggregation; Security, Compliance and Audit; and Governance.
Another important factor to consider, according to Greenwood, is the need for an "Independent Service Provider." This is not a generic building block for all gated communities, because in some centralized communities there may be an in-house and non-independent department that actually provisions and delivers the services. However, in an environment where there are multiple organizations with comparable negotiation power or authority, there will frequently be a need for an agreed upon trustworthy independent party to administer and host the cross-organizational services.