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3/18/2009
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StrongAuth Withdraws From OASIS Key Management Committee

Announces decision after OASIS announces intent to charter a new Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) Technical Committee

CUPERTINO, CA March 10, 2009 -- StrongAuth, Inc. today announced its withdrawal from the OASIS Enterprise Key Management Infrastructure (EKMI) Technical committee.

In response to the recent announcement by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) of the intent to charter a new Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) Technical Committee, StrongAuth announced its decision to withdraw from all OASIS standards efforts it was engaged in.

StrongAuth spearheaded the formation of the EKMI Technical Committee in 2006, after the release of StrongKey, the industry's first open-source Symmetric Key Management System (SKMS) software and donated the protocol it created in StrongKey - the Symmetric Key Services Markup Language (SKSML) - on a royalty free basis to the OASIS EKMI Technical Committee (TC). The TC, which started operations in January 2007 with six members had since grown to over thirty, including companies such as CA, Red Hat, the US Department of Defense, Wells Fargo and a host of individuals from the information security and IT audit industry. The EKMI TC recently approved the Symmetric Key Services Markup Language (SKSML) as an OASIS Committee Specification in January 2009.

A group of storage-technology related companies recently announced their intent to start a new KMIP Technical Committee with a charter described at http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/oasis-charter-discuss/200902/msg00000.html.

StrongAuth protested the potential formation of the KMIP TC based on the arguments documented at http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/oasis-charter-discuss/200902/msg00001.html on the grounds that it did not serve customers of key-management solutions. OASIS responded with the following response http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/oasis-charter-discuss/200903/msg00000.html.

In response to a subsequent vote on the future of the EKMI TC, Arshad Noor, the CTO of StrongAuth (and recent Chair of the EKMI TC) said:

"I believe the policies at OASIS makes it difficult to put out a coherent message [on key-management] that benefits users in the IT industry. In light of the following facts:

that charter members of the KMIP TC chose not to engage with the EKMI TC despite observing its activities for over two years [from within the OASIS EKMI TC]; that some of [the KMIP charter members] were surreptitiously working on [the KMI] protocol while giving the appearance of engaging with [the IEEE 1619.3] industry standards group; that OASIS facilitated the creation of a new TC with overlapping charters rather than encourage charter members of the KMIP TC to engage in a constructive discussion with an existing OASIS TC that has a Committee Specification; and that there is nothing in OASIS policy to prevent yet another splinter group from the KMIP charter members to start yet another [key-management] related TC within OASIS, if it serves the splinter group' purposes

it appears that OASIS' policies are more sympathetic to IT vendors than to IT customers. In light of this, I believe that the [key-management] industry is better served by having the EKMI vision evolve in the 'do-or-die' competitive environment of the global open-source community, where technology and standards are largely driven by IT users than by vendors".

Notwithstanding its withdrawal from OASIS efforts, StrongAuth intends to continue development of its open-source StrongKey software and implement the approved SKSML specification in a new version of StrongKey targeted for release this year.

"We believe that permanent data-protection comes from encrypting data in the application - not in the database, not in the operating system and not in the storage layer" noted Arshad Noor. "When data is protected within the application that uses it, data is finally safe when in-motion, at-rest or when-asleep on storage drives. We will continue to work on making it easy for software developers to protect their data with one of the lowest-cost, scalable and secure SKMS".

About StrongAuth, Inc. StrongAuth develops advanced solutions related to the use of symmetric and asymmetric-key cryptography. It has been building some of the largest key-management infrastructures since 2001 for companies in the pharmaceutical, financial, DRM, bio-technology, retail and service industries. More information on StrongAuth and its open-source software products - StrongKey and CSRTool - can be found at http://www.strongauth.com and http://www.strongkey.org.

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