Bell Atlantic's New Extranet Services Provide Powerful Communications Tools for Businesses
Services Offer Secure Online Link to Partners and Customers Wherever, Whenever
January 26, 1999
|Media contact:||Maureen Flanagan,
NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic is introducing a package of services that give businesses the power to communicate online with partners, customers and employees from home, the office or the road.
The services enable businesses to establish an extranet -- or network of outside clients -- they can reach online instantly and securely.
"We have developed an innovative solution for businesses looking to create their own controlled electronic 'community' where users can quickly exchange information, process work orders or access the Internet," said Joe Farina, president and chief executive officer of Bell Atlantic's Data Solutions Group. "The new services empower companies to interact and share information online with other businesses critical to their success and growth."
Bell Atlantic's package features several applications that businesses can choose from to meet their individual goals and objectives. Included among the options are administrative tools, web-based management tools and a directory service. The services also offer enhanced security functions that ensure information shared online is tightly guarded and accessible only to authorized parties.
Safety Insurance, one of New England's top auto insurers, plans to use the full suite of extranet services to give independent agents direct access to its databases and applications. Such access will provide agents with extensive, timely information and a quicker way to process policies and claims.
By using the services, agents can contact vendors they regularly do business with -- such as auto body shops and rental agencies -- right from their laptop or desktop computer. Instant access to businesses they trust means faster and better service for their clients.
"Safety is committed to the independent agent," said Daniel Loranger, vice president of Information Systems at Safety Insurance. "Our agents have asked us to open our systems to allow them to inquire about and maintain their accounts. Bell Atlantic's extranet services provide the performance and security -- within a single application -- that enable agents to access important records. Our agents are extremely pleased with the (Bell Atlantic) products we have rolled out to date.
"We will provide this new service to our insurance agents for free as a way of retaining existing agents and attracting new ones," said Loranger. "Giving agents the ability to access the company's database real-time and exchange information with colleagues will give them more control over day-to-day functions and enable them to be more responsive to customers."
Felipe Alvarez, director of Vertical Industry Solutions for the Data Solutions Group, said: "We are confident that Safety Insurance will find our extranet services to be an invaluable communications tool. We are eager to help other customers create their own unique online communities. Healthcare providers, for example, could use the new services to enable authorized doctors, nurses and patients to access sensitive clinical data instantly and securely. And hospitals could manage their resources more effectively by communicating directly with suppliers and partners."
Alvarez said businesses can share important documents online with confidence using Bell Atlantic's extranet services.
The services use a public key infrastructure platform (PKI) -- the industry accepted framework -- to support the following security functions:
- Strong mutual authentication: Replaces the standard user ID or password mechanism with digital certificates, a stronger form of authentication.
- Data confidentiality: Encrypts information the moment it leaves the user's desktop or laptop until it reaches the destination server or computer.
- End user authorization: Allows only authorized users to view information.
- Data integrity: Ensures that a document is in no way altered as it travels over the Internet.
- Digital signature: Adds capabilities that help identify the originator of a transaction or message.
Bell Atlantic Data Solutions Group (DSG) is dedicated to providing globally integrated network solutions that seamlessly connect businesses with their customers, partners and employees. DSG provides all aspects of data networking from the management and operation of customer networks and network integration, to network transport and advanced IP services such as intranets and extranets, virtual private networks, web hosting and multimedia services. DSG will offer complete, end-to-end solutions through third party alliances and partnerships it will form nationally and globally.
About Bell Atlantic
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With 42 million telephone access lines and eight million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.