Track 7: identity management
A matter of getting the identity right
Identity management is an essential part of enterprise security.
It is essential for organisations to have an IT infrastructure where all applications
are identity aware
When an employee tells your IT system that he is authorised
to access the system, how far would the system trust him? Technically, he should
be able to access only the files pertaining to his area of work. However, due
to the lack of single sign on solutions, the employee may end up getting access
to confidential R&D files stored on the network. Most often, organizations
without strict identity management in place could find themselves under attack
from disgruntled ex-employees who use their old passwords to get into the company's
IT systems. In most cases, this is due to the lack of a single sign on to multiple
For organizations having multiple IT systems, a single sign
on solution is necessary to manage multiple user identities across several applications
and computing systems. Implementing a single sign on solution helps an enterprise
manage user rights more effectively as it is easier for users to log into all
the applications using a single user name and password. In the future, most
organisations will have an identity based IT infrastructure where all applications
are identity aware.
Bring down IT management costs
While the term 'identity management' is still not very prevalent,
many progressive organisations have already implemented comprehensive identity
management solutions or are in the midst of evaluating identity management software
as a strategic tool. Another key driver for identity management is the savings
it brings in terms of operational costs due to a spurt in the efficiency of
data management. Traditionally companies evaluate their solutions on various
parameters, especially when there are overlapping features across products.
For instance, many databases and directories have their own access-control features.
As identity management tools or single sign-on tools can be used to provide
access to applicationsthey help reduce IT management costs. Typically,
identity management tasks are under the purview of several departments in an
enterprise. As a single sign on solution enables access to many applications
across the network, it saves timeboth the user's and the administrator's.
Before buying a single sign on solution, organisations have
to ensure that an identity infrastructure based on open standards is enabled
across all its systems to be effective. A single sign-on solution has to tie
together authentication, directory services, provisioning, user and access management.
In the future, the identity management infrastructure could
be embedded even in devices such as telephones. For example, provisioning telephone
services for new employees could be simplified using an embedded identity infrastructure.
The same identity management infrastructure could be also be used for helping
customers comply with regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley act and HIPAA.