UK authentication pioneer Cryptocard has been bought by US encryption specialist SafeNet for an undisclosed sum.

The US firm will get its hands on Cryptocard’s Blackshield cloud platform which it said it would merge with its own authentication-as-a-service products. Cryptocard’s technology will gain through access to SafeNet’s global customer base which includes large service providers.

“The user authentication market is expected to grow by approximately 30 percent in the upcoming year,” said Gartner’s Ant Allan, quoted by SafeNet to back up its market view.  

“Gartner predicts that, by 2017, more than 50 percent of enterprises will choose cloud-based services as the delivery option for new or refreshed user authentication implementations, up from less than 10 percent today,” he said.

By SafeNet standards, the Cryptocard deal is a small if important one. In 2008, the company caught the attention by buying prominent security company Ingrian Networks. A year later it fired up an odd merger-cum-acquisition deal with Israeli company Aladdin Knowledge Systems. At the time Aladdin was owned by a private equity firm but $160 million had changed hands by the time the deal closed in 2010.

Cryptocard has scored some interesting contracts wins in recent times, including a deal with partner Virgin Media Business to secure access to health databases for Kingston Primary Care Trust (PCT).

Oxford University bought into Cryptocard's Crypto-mas service to secure access for several hundred staff to its academic network.