Online Gated Communities White Paper Now Available

Director of MIT’s eCommerce Architecture Program is Available to Comment on Architecting Secure Extended Enterprises

WHITE PLAINS, NY–August 25, 2003–Communicator Inc, a provider of secure 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 such as Communicator 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.

“More than ever businesses and government organizations are working closely with partners, contractors, suppliers, customers, citizens and others via the Internet,” notes Greenwood. “The key to success is to instantly, securely and reliably connect the right people together with each other and with the right information and processes. This must be done, however, while protecting organizations’ networks, data and online operations. Online gated communities are a powerful and elegant solution because they provide a balance of strategic and security needs.

“The research collaboration between Communicator and the MIT eCommerce Architecture Program has been a fruitful one,” added Greenwood. “The approaches used by Communicator have served as an excellent reference point for researchers at the Program who are focusing on better solutions to today’s extended enterprise and identity management challenges. The industry expertise of our partners at Communicator in current implementation of federated systems and online gated communities was invaluable to our research and enriched the classroom experience of graduate students in the affiliated seminar.”

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: The ability to easily designate users as “in” or “out” of the gated community, to synchronize user identities from across the community, and to maintain simple and community-wide management controls for identity creation, change and closure.

Messaging, Presence and Collaboration: The ability for any users inside all the affiliated organizations to “see” each other, to communicate and to form small self-clustering groups of users to regularly or spontaneously collaborate together.

Content Aggregation: Simple ways to deliver streams of content from heterogeneous sources to authorized users. In an online gated community, content aggregation provides the users with context sensitive flows of information based on their needs and their relationships to others in the community.

Security, Compliance and Audit: The capacity to administer and closely track activities, usage and access to all systems and applications within the bounded community. Those administering this building block assure high security, appropriate notifications, auditability, archiving and regulatory compliance. Governance: The organization and process by which the rules and executive decisions affecting the online gated community are made. Through policy, operating rules and other such instruments, the governing body sets the rights, responsibilities and roles of every user within the boundaries of the community.

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.

“Across the public and private sectors and throughout the emerging information society, the pressures to enable secure yet open access across organizations are growing,” concludes Greenwood. “Organizations must balance the protection of sensitive, high-value and mission critical information and systems against the imperative to open access to a growing and diverse set of people, processes and devices across enterprises. Online gated communities offer a reliable, efficient and scalable means of achieving this balance. In addition, when tailored to the context of participating organizations, online gated communities can qualitatively enhance existing work channels by unleashing the genius of individuals and teams, freeing them to collaborate, learn, transact and innovate.”

About the Author
Daniel Greenwood, Esq. has been a lecturer on eGovernment and eCommerce policy and information architecture since 1997 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Architecture and Planning as well as the MIT Media Lab and since 1999 has also been Director of the MIT eCommerce Architecture Program (http://ecitizen.mit.edu/). In conjunction with his academic practice, Mr. Greenwood consults to and practices law for government and private companies on authentication and electronic transactions system, policy and law in association with the CIVICS.com consultancy.

Mr. Greenwood also serves on the Board of Directors of various eBusiness and eGovernment related trade and technical associations, chairs the eContracts Technical Committee of OASIS/LegalXML, and chairs various committees and task forces dealing with information security, business automation and public policy for Bar Associations at the state and national levels. Mr. Greenwood has testified before Congress and the U.S. Senate on eCommerce and is a frequent speaker appearing on national television, the Wall Street Journal and other media on policy, technology, architecture and strategy related to eGovernment and eBusiness.

About Communicator Inc
Communicator Inc provides communication, collaboration and content solutions that address the business and technology challenges of the extended enterprise. Organizations in financial services, government and life sciences, among other industries, often have difficulty securing their communications and access to information across disparate systems, and managing identities of individuals, employees, customers and partners. In addition, multi-enterprise communities introduce security and compliance challenges that fundamentally cannot be managed internally by any one of the participating organizations. Communicator Inc, through its technology and managed services approach to federated identity management, content aggregation and real-time messaging, acts as a neutral third-party, connecting the right people to the right information in real-time. Communicator Inc is a privately held company headquartered in White Plains, New York. For more information, visit www.communicator.com, call 914-872-2800 or email info@communicator.com.