Bank of America CORP. wants to make sure its private E-mail communications with customers are as secure as heirloom jewelry in a safe-deposit box. The bank said last week it will deploy Sigaba Corp.'s secure messaging products early next year to several hundred clients of its Global Treasury Services. The division provides capital-management services to large businesses and government agencies.
Those clients are already familiar with sending and receiving secure messages using tools such as PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption, says Will Koenig, senior VP of messaging and collaboration at the bank. But other Bank of America divisions are expected to sign on for secure messaging, too, Koenig says. For example, the Sigaba software could let the consumer division send monthly statements and other private financial information via E-mail to its 30 million U.S. customers. Customers can use almost any E-mail software to communicate secure messages back to the bank.
Bank of America has spent nearly two years researching secure messaging products. The five-year contract calls for Sigaba to provide secure E-mail gateways, authentica-tion and encryption, and other security plug-ins. Sigaba's system also decrypts and scans encrypted E-mails for viruses, re-encrypts the message, and forwards it to the recipient.
The software should also help the bank comply with privacy regulations included in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. "The market for secure E-mail looks like it's gaining traction, and it's the regulations that are finally getting secure E-mail on corporate budgets," IDC analyst Charles Kolodgy says. For the medical industry, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is also expected to increase demand for secure messaging.