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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Identity Management As Web Service

I am always confronted with multiple options whenever design and rollout of identity management arise- used to wonder how come in this COTS/Consolidation/Web Services age – we are not having a direct and elegant solution. Clint Boulton writes about emerging developments in the identity management space. Enterprises are looking to ID management software to prevent security breaches and meet stringent regulatory requirements specifying tighter controls over user access to information, applications and systems. Government regulations & increased customer expectations are fueling the need for comprehensive identity management suites in a number of key vertical industries such as finance and healthcare. Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA pretty much control the financial services and healthcare services industries, respectively, ordering organizations to relate their data and retrieve it at a moment's notice
The snail-like pace of integrating identity management software into one complete suite is an important issue. But when companies do get around to shoring up their ID management portfolios, identity services may be delivered as Web services, highly popular distributed computing software. Burton Group’s Jamie Lewis said the ID management niche is entering a new "iteration," in the wake of massive industry consolidation that saw Computer Associates buy Netegrity and Oracle scoop up Oblix, among other acquisitions. This next stage is being challenged by the difficulty of integrating components such as authorization, authentication and single sign-on.
Integrated ID management generally means services that share components tethered by one workflow engine and one set of administrative interfaces and event systems. After an analysis, Lewis said most of the products have different workflow engines and don't share a common set of administrative interfaces
. "I don't think anybody has what I consider anywhere the level of integration that the word 'suite' would connote. "The customer doesn't want to bear the integration burden," Lewis said. "They want one throat to choke." The big question facing the vendors is how long will it really take to deliver and integrated set of products that truly shares a common set of components rather than overlapping. Going forward, Lewis said he expects ID management tools to evolve to become a set of services accessible by multiple applications. This includes and so-called identity services, which began as directory services and are evolving to become a larger superset of discreet services that live on the network. To be fully useful, these services must become encapsulated, exposed and used as Web services. Directory, virtual directory, metadirectory and federation would collapse into the larger superset of identity services and shall begin to exposed as Web services.

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