Benefits of the Public Key Infrastructure

The Windows 2000 public key infrastructure (also known as a PKI) provides the framework of services, technology, protocols, and standards that enable you to deploy and manage a strong information security system that is based on public key technology. You can deploy your public key infrastructure to support a wide range of network and information security needs.

The Windows 2000 public key infrastructure includes Certificate Services for issuing and managing digital certificates and Microsoft CryptoAPI version 2 for secure cryptographic operations and private key management. The public key infrastructure is fully integrated with the Active Directory ™ directory service in Windows 2000, and with distributed security services.

The discussion in this chapter focuses on the individual components and features of the Windows 2000 public key infrastructure. For more information about public key infrastructure and public key technology, see "Cryptography for Network and Information Security" in this book.