The largest retailer in the world famously led EDI adoption by embracing and mandating the use of AS2 across their retail industry and value chain. Amazon, Target, Lowe’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond and thousands of others followed suit. Today, AS2 is the de facto standard for EDI transactions but also for other business documents as AS2 is payload agnostic. Aside from retail, many other vertical industries use the AS2 protocol, including healthcare, as AS2 meets legal HIPAA requirements and is tested periodically yearly for conformance and interoperability to the AS2 RFC 4130 standard.
AS2 provides many benefits, from both business and technology vantage points. Here are the top 3 from my perspective:
1st – Security: Sensitive data is protected in AS2 through the transport layer via SSL and in the payload layer through S/MIME. AS2 uses the S/MIME protocol to wrap EDI data in a secure “envelope” and send it over the web.
2nd – Integrity: The identity of the sender and the integrity of the payload are ensured because the message is signed using digital certificates. There is also encryption to ensure only the correct party receiving the payloads in the AS2 messages can see the data, plus SSL at the transport layer provides protection against interception while being transmitted.
3rd – Non-Repudiation: The receiver of the data returns a signed message containing a Message Integrity Check (MIC) calculated over the payload, which provides proof of receipt which is necessary for legal reasons.
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