IBM extends ID management

IBM Corp. officials announced new identity management solutions and services today designed to simplify the complex and costly task of managing user identities across an organization.

Company officials introduced the Integrated Identity and Access Management Services to help organizations automate and administer complex identity management business processes. Additionally, to help officials at enterprises and government agencies protect computer systems, buildings and employees, IBM officials integrated Tivoli Identity Manager with products from ActivCard Inc., Bioscrypt Inc., ImageWare Systems Inc. and VeriSign Inc.

IBM officials also said the company will embed identity management across the IBM product portfolio. For example, the new ThinkPad T42 features a biometric fingerprint reader that provides authentication information to the IBM Tivoli Access Manager, which acts as an enterprise authorization system that grants or denies access to critical applications and data.

Preventing unauthorized access to networks and corporate resources can be challenging for information technology managers as employees are hired and others leave, devices are taken off and added to the network, new work locations are set up, and different service providers are used, experts said. Often, multiple passwords and access controls are needed to protect data, computer systems and facilities.

Officials at the Treasury Department's Financial Management Service are looking to streamline the process of granting clients and employees access rights to networked systems.

Currently, users have multiple access controls to log on to network resources and every application has its own administrator, said Tammy Borkowski, director of the service's Enterprise Shared Services Division.

Additionally, some employees and financial clients are using smart cards to access some applications, she said. Officials at the service "are getting ready to [deploy] single sign-on" capabilities. They want to bring in an identity management suite that will allow them to pick and choose the components that can help streamline administration of user identities, Borkowski said.

Treasury administrators already use IBM Tivoli Identity Manager, which automates the management and provisioning of user identities across an e-business infrastructure, she said. But she is also looking at some of the company's newer offerings.

For example, through the new partnerships, ActivCard is providing a smart card management solution that loads multiple security credentials such as digital certificates, user names, passwords and biometric templates onto smart cards. It has connectors to Tivoli Identity Manager for user provisioning, VeriSign's managed security services for automated creation and loading of digital certificates and General Electric Co.'s Picture Perfect solution for the capture of fingerprints, printing and initialization of smart cards. Bioscrypt Inc. provides biometric verification technology that supports a range of fingerprint sensors and devices. ImageWare Systems Inc. provides a software developer's kit, EPI Builder, which allows engineers to develop custom identification solutions or incorporate identification capabilities into existing applications.

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