pkiSpeaking at a conference recently, Henk Tobias, Eema’s chairman and technology manager of the global infrastructure organisation at Unilever, said it was impossible to have full and successful global e-business without addressing the unresolved problems with PKI.

Unilever began to experiment with PKI technology a few years ago when the company put in the infrastructure to allow a number of people in its human resources department to send encrypted attachments. The project was expanded to include financial services, and later moved on to secure messaging, allowing senior managers to encrypt confidential information and send it securely across the public Internet to Unilever’s offices in different countries in Europe.

Based on the success of the in-house project, the company is keen to expand its use of PKI technology to communicate with its huge network of business partners. “We’ve been looking into communicating with some of our main raw materials suppliers and a number of the supermarket chains through PKI. But all your partners must have PKI in place and the different technologies must be able to talk to each other,” Tobias said.

Perhaps one of the most significant stumbling-blocks in the …