Vendors team up on ID management

Atreus Systems Inc. and Science Applications International Corp. this week announced that they have joined forces to help IT managers provide employees and partners with secure access to critical data and applications.

The management of the identities and network services that users are authorized to access is becoming increasingly complex as organizations take more applications online, according to industry experts.

"It's a major problem keeping track of who your clients are, what services they are authorize to use and how to get to those services," said Brenda Toonders, director of marketing, at Cupertino, Calif.-based Atreus. Determining what network devices should be used to deliver those services is even more of problem as companies take products online, she said.

To make that process easier, SAIC will resell Atreus xAuthority service provisioning platform as part of its global telecommunications enterprise management solution.

SAIC's systems integration capabilities coupled with Atreus' IP service provisioning system will allow federal systems administrators to provide agency employees with secure access to networks, applications and IP services, Toonders said.

Atreus' xAuthority platform has a track record as a tool for telecom carriers and Internet service providers to manage access to broadband Internet services, managed firewall services and virtual private networks.

"Enterprise IT departments are no different," Toonders said, adding that the IT departments of many large organizations act as service providers, matching client identification with specific network services.

The xAuthority platform, which runs on Sun Microsystems Inc. Solaris servers, consists of two components: management software and a self-service portal. The management framework maps applications and services to user IDs and passwords and then automatically configures network devices - such as routers, switches and servers - to handle the user requests.

A centralized IT department can let users access various accounts or applications via a customized portal, Toonders said. A user in the sales group, for example, may launch services such as e-mail or VPN remote access as well as get into public folders only of that group. Or users can come in and change passwords or add new services if they've been promoted, for instance, and are authorized to access other applications.

The xAuthority provisioning system also immediately terminates access rights when an employee or contractor leaves an organization.

Federal agencies' push to offer more services online make them likely candidates for user provisioning and identity management software, Toonders said. The agreement with SAIC, with its strong presence in the federal market, is a strategic move that will help Atreus make inroads into the public sector, she said.

Other vendors have recognized this need too. Officials at Northrop Grumman Information Technology, for example, announced in July that they would offer Waveset Technologies Inc.'s Lighthouse identity management software to federal agencies. And IBM Corp. recently took steps to beef up its identity management offerings. In September, IBM said it would acquire Access360, a developer of identity management software based in Irvine, Calif.


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