Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 September 2009
Introduction to Part III
The Internet is growing to be the major means through which the services can be delivered electronically to businesses and customers. Today, the current developments in service provision through communication networks are moving from tightly joined systems towards services of loosely linked and dynamically bound components. The evolution in this category of applications is represented by a new paradigm, the so-called e-service, for which project developers and service providers are encouraging the definition of techniques, design of methods, and construction of tools as well as infrastructures for supporting the design, development, and operation of e-services and e-government systems. The development of e-services can increase the business opportunity for making available value-added e-services by: composing existing e-services (which may be supplied by different providers), customizing and updating e-services, or creating them from formal specifications.
Service composition appears to be an important issue that can provide a competitive advantage for organizations since they can reduce the needed effort and increase the efficiency of e-services to build. Recently, many e-services have been made publicly accessible and therefore are offered in an unsecured manner. However, some among these e-services will need to use encrypted communications and authentication services. To provide security mechanisms for the operation of e-services at a low level granularity, it is important to define: (a) how the e-services authenticate customers in a reasonable fashion; (b) how e-services' standards address the problem of securing the assets in offering e-services; and (c) how cryptographic elements are managed and distributed.