E-commerce is a hot topic, and many businesses face the task of safely conducting online business. They must guard sensitive customer information, but using encryption techniques to protect data increases processor load significantly. That increased load leads to performance degradation, which in turn leads to fewer transactions processed per second, which results in reduced sales. Ouch.

How do you get around the overhead of strong encryption algorithms on a system? You could get a multiprocessor platform to help ease the load, but Rainbow Technologies offers another equally appealing solution called CryptoSwift II. This add-on card offloads tasks from the central processor to handle encryption processing.

The CryptoSwift II PCI-based card integrates with numerous popular Web server platforms, including Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), C2Net Stronghold, and Netscape Enterprise Server. Rainbow also has an API for developing specialized applications using Microsoft Crypto-API, RSA S/PAY, SETref, RSA BSAFE 3.0, Netscape API (NSAPI), Maithean NetPAY, Entrust, Intel Common Data Security Architecture (CDSA), and more. In addition, several popular OSs (e.g., Windows NT, BSDI, FreeBSD, Linux, Mac OS, Solaris, HP-UX) support this card.

CryptoSwift II supports several protocols: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Secure Electronic Transmission (SET), Secure Shell (SSH), IP Security (IPSec), Internet Security Association and Key Management Protocol (ISAKMP), Transparent LAN service (TLS), S/WAN, and Secure TCPS. The product can decrypt some 200 private keys per second. In addition, Rainbow makes an Ethernet-enabled version of CryptoSwift II that lets the hardware handle encryption processing for other systems across a network.

CryptoSwift II installs quickly and easily. I tested the unit on an NT 4.0 system with Service Pack 4 (SP4) and Microsoft's Site Server 3.0 Commerce Edition, which is IIS 4.0-based. The hardware has no jumpers, so installation simply involved inserting the card into an empty PCI slot.

After installing the hardware, you load the drivers, which is also a snap. Running the setup program for IIS systems installs a plugin that causes IIS to send all of its transactions to CryptoSwift II. Running the program also installs SwiftIIS, which gives diagnostic information and provides easy PCI card management. SwiftIIS lets me disable and enable the CryptoSwift II hardware, upgrade the hardware's firmware, and also stop and start the IIS service.

During my tests, I saw significant performance increases on my Site Server 3.0 system. Under load conditions where transactions per second typically number about 17 to 20, CryptoSwift II increases the yield to 40 to 50 transactions per second. Under the same conditions, response times dwindled from more than 190 milliseconds to less than 50 milliseconds.

For a 50 transactions-per-second card, I found CryptoSwift II incredibly easy to implement and well worth its price. This unit is also available in 100 and 200 transactions-per-second. If your company needs to support encrypted communications, you should consider CryptoSwift II.

CryptoSwift II
Contact: Rainbow Technologies
949-450-7300 or 888-667-4728
Web: http://www.rainbow.com