Although most of its expansion has occurred since the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1994, the Internet is actually more than thirty years old. The U.S. government started the revolution by laying the framework for the Internet in the late 1960s, the Department of Defense funded a network of computers to connect researchers, government workers, and defense contractors.
As most brands of computers at the time employed very different rules for communication (known as protocols), the Department of Defense decided to develop a vendor-independent suite of protocols. The new network was named ARPAnet, after the Advanced Research Projects Agency within the Department of Defense, which provided the funding for the project. This technical background is relevant because these early protocols were replaced with the now immensely popular TCP/IP networking protocol, which allows computers from different vendors to communicate in a common framework and provides the foundation of almost everything we now do on the Internet.
Today the Internet is a huge collection of networked computers around the globe that provides connectivity and communication power undreamed of a few years ago. Computers on the planet can be connected to this very open and powerful system, each taking on different characteristics according to our specific needs, but still accessible through this common framework. Each computer on the Internet has a unique name, known as a domain name, and each system has an extension that usually describes the general function of the organization using it. Computers on the Internet communicate with one another through the network using protocols administered by the governing bodies in various countries. The primary body in the United States is the Internic, and its operations are managed by Network Solutions, which is responsible for issuing new domains. Other countries also have organizations for issuing country-specific domains.
A variety of applications provides different functionality for the business or organization connecting to the Internet. These applications deliver tremendously powerful capabilities at relatively low prices furnish connectivity to the Internet, hosting services, and, increasingly, management of critical applications on their sites. For the most part, every host-based application and client/server LAN application requires unique desktop software.
A great advantage of the Web is that the desktop software is usually the same, requiring little modification and creating a unified method of distribution for most users. Users need only a web browser (and perhaps a plug-in) to access potentially thousands of Web applications and millions of web sites. This magic is provided as requests are made from web browser to web server and a response takes place using a language known as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). Before HTML, instant communication with these systems was impossible. Security is a topic of concern to most Internet consumers, and in the B2B world, there is, even more, a reason for concern. Keeping data and information secure while ensuring that clients and partners get the information and facilities they need is an ongoing challenge.
Although the subject of security is complex, the basics will provide the foundation for establishing a secure B2B relationship. Without effective security, business partners and clients will be rightly cautious about making any significant commitment to a company’s product or service, particularly as the requirements for security typically are at the highest common denominator. A company that wants to participate in an individual network must have B2B security systems and standards that are at the highest level…