Lotus has won permission from the US government to ship 128-bit encryption in Domino, its server platform, but only for banking customers.
The move could set a precedent that will challenge the role of traditional electronic data interchange for secure ecommerce.
Analysts said the decision to beef up the server product could increase its popularity with financial institutions.
The US government's ruling follows recent announcements by Microsoft and Lotus about new products and enhancements.
Meta Group senior research analyst Ashim Pal said that, with 128-bit encryption, Domino offered an alternative to traditional EDI for business and electronic commerce.
Corporates could adopt 128-bit Domino servers with IBM's recently announced MQSeries messaging middleware, which is designed to offer more reliable message delivery, he said. This would offer guaranteed message delivery on a system that is easier to configure and use than EDI.
Lotus User Group chairman Grant Pearson said 128-bit encryption addressed the needs of very large corporates. "Ecommerce is a matter of confidence more than anything else. You must give a secure environment," he said.
Lotus has also acquired Databeam, manufacturer of a standards based videoconferencing server, and Ubique, maker of real time chat and instant messaging tools, for an undisclosed sum.
But Pal dismissed these as "exotic" applications designed to boost Lotus's marketing not technology offerings.
Gavin Clarke is reporter on Computing.
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