nCipher Dramatically Boosts Secure Web Server Performance With New Hardware Security Module

Cambridge, UK – 3 November 2003 – nCipher plc (LSE: NCH), a leading provider of cryptographic IT security solutions, today introduced an extension to its nForce family of hardware security modules (HSM), nForceâ„? 1600, delivering enhanced performance, protection and manageability for SSL-enabled Web servers and other applications.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) has become dominant technology that most companies use to protect sensitive information exchanged online. However the successful adoption of SSL presents a number of challenges that are addressed by the deployment of the nCipher nForce product range. The use of SSL to protect information shared over the Web can cause degradation in Web site performance often forcing SSL to be used sparingly to protect only the most sensitive information and limiting a Web sites ability to respond to peaks in traffic. In addition, the cryptographic keys that provide the core security capabilities of SSL security are often left exposed leaving the site – and therefore the organization it represents – vulnerable to attack, compromising customer privacy and risking the theft of intellectual property.

The new nForce 1600 HSM combines cryptographic key security with SSL acceleration and can support up to 1600 new SSL connections per second, typically at least a ten-fold increase over an unaccelerated server, enabling more widespread adoption of SSL without incurring a performance penalty. Unlike typical SSL acceleration products, nForce also provides a higher level of security by safeguarding the essential SSL keys and performing all cryptographic operations in a safe, isolated hardware environment within the host server. The critical security characteristics of the new nForce 1600 have been independently validated to the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 2 – one of the most stringent standards in the IT security industry.

“Not only does nForce 1600 protect cryptographic keys to ensure the highest level of Web server security, it also provides powerful acceleration capabilities that eliminate potential SSL bottlenecks that slow or freeze online transactions, causing frustration for customers and risk of lost business for companies,” said Simon Avarne, vice president of product management at nCipher. “Companies with high traffic Web servers can reduce capital expenditures and administration costs by utilizing this advanced processing power.”

nCipher HSMs use a common key management framework, nCipher Security World. This means that all nCipher HSMs are completely compatible, allowing them to be configured and deployed in any combination to meet an organization’s management, security and budgetary needs. Flexibility in configuration allows an organization to protect an existing investment, reconfigure and reallocate hardware devices as necessary and easily extend the use of ‘hard security’ to meet new business needs. nCipher conducts extensive interoperability testing to ensure straightforward HSM integration with leading Web server software and other commercial applications that use SSL to secure the exchange of information.

About nCipher
nCipher is redefining cryptographic security to protect points of risk across the enterprise – from network appliances to Web servers, to custom software applications and back-end databases. nCipher provides hardware and software solutions that enable organizations to implement best practice security by addressing the challenges of cryptographic key management and performance. Many of the world’s leading organizations – from Microsoft and Barclays Bank to PricewaterhouseCoopers and the U.S. Navy – rely on nCipher to deliver a sound e-security infrastructure. nCipher’s products are particularly well suited to organizations with high volumes of security-sensitive transactions, such as banking and financial institutions, government departments, e-retailers and online service providers. nCipher is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:NCH) and is a member of the FTSE TechMARK and FTSE4Good indices with offices in Cambridge, UK; Boston, Seattle, Paris, Hamburg, Singapore and Tokyo. For more information on nCipher, visit

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