Verizon rolls out certificate services for 'Internet of things'

Verizon today said it is rolling out digital certificate services aimed at the "Internet of things" in order to provide security and authentication for machine-to-machine systems.

Verizon's Managed Certificate Services is a way to provide through a cloud-based service the type of digital certificates that can be used to verify and authenticate machine "identities." According to Johan Sys, the topic expert and manager in the identity and access management (IAM) arm at Verizon Enterprise Services, these certificates could be used to provide authentication and content integrity in systems associated with smart meters, software-based controls, TV set-top boxes and other industrial applications.

Verizon has long been delivering digital certificates for purposes such as Web servers, but when it comes to machine-to-machine systems, the key factor is being able to scale tremendously with flexibility. "The challenge is scale and implementing hundreds of thousands," says Sys. For its managed certificate service, Verizon is taking the approach that the pricing model should be based on a per device, per month charge for flexibility.

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As an example of what charges might look like, Verizon says in addition to a one-time set-up fee, there would be a recurring monthly charge of about $2,500 for 15,000 certificates. For additional certificates, enterprises would be charged a per-certificate fee typically ranging between 8 cents down to 1 cent per month per object, depending on total volume.

Verizon's public-key infrastructure service is expected to find a role in Europe in monitoring how long commercial trucks are rolling on the road with professional drivers. That's because Europe has regulations under which a truck driver can drive for 8 hours but then must take a mandatory rest period, Sys says. Attached devices that monitor this truck movement and speed are called tachographs and they can use "tacho-certs" for security purposes.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail:

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