Web extra: Mobile management tomorrow

Companies such as Novell and Microsoft are pioneering a key feature most asset managers will employ in the future — namely, asset management integrated with identity management. Microsoft and Novell are front-runners because both have asset and desktop management applications and network directories, which form the backbone of any identity management architecture.

The powerful combination allows desktop PC administrators to know who has a device and what the device contains. They can then automate the process of reprovisioning a device should it change users. For instance, a notebook PC moving from User A in management to User B in sales could automatically receive the target user’s designated operating system image, software tools and log-on credentials.

The approach is also useful in conjunction with the new security features being integrated into many business-oriented mobile devices. IBM/Lenovo’s ThinkPad line is a prime example. It integrates an anti-theft data protection chip and a biometric fingerprint reader directly into certain models.

Using identity management, administrators will be able to save complex passwords securely, allowing single sign-on for users — resulting in less confusion and fewer help-desk calls — and easy recovery when users change equipment or forget their security information.

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