Novell Nsure - relationship-based security
Identity management, according to a recent Information Security Magazine survey, is the fastest growing sector with a 45 percent compound annual growth rate.
The sector offers rich pickings. There are not many organisations that do not plan to introduce some form of identity management over the next couple of years. At the moment those already operating identity management systems are very much in the minority.
And identity management is a sector, not a simple product category. Depending on who you talk to, it can embrace any or all of the following: access control tools, directory servers, authorization, user account provisioning and administration, automated password reset, Web and enterprise single sign-on, Web services security. There are many vendors who address one or more of these sub-categories.
The diversity brings its own problems. How do you choose the right tools for the job? Which bits of the jigsaw are mandatory, which nice to have?
Early movers in this space have included Netegrity and Oblix. Today, it is hard to find a major IT vendor that does not have an identity management offering. Novell are one such vendor.
The launch of Nsure shows that Novell understand the role of identity as a constituent of the decision-making process. An identity is a set of attributes that describe an entity (be it person, process, system, server or thing) within the context of an event or request.
This is important because the way in which you engage with customers, suppliers and partners is based on who they are, how they relate to your business, and what they need from you. As such, the desirable attributes of an identity management system can be argued as being greater than provisioning and single sign-on.
For Novell, Nsure's foundation is about unifying identity information and policies across all the systems in your organization in ways that reflect your business relationships. Novell state that by doing this it allows you to present personalised access to resources.
Nsure is not a new product but a re-packaging of tried and tested technology with a few tweaks and bolt-ons. In effect, a suite of software tools that together can form a rich identity management solution.
Underpinning Nsure is Novell eDirectory, a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)-enabled, identity management system that centralizes the management of user identities, access privileges and other network resources.
A key component is DirXML, a service that allows data sharing services to distribute new and updated information across directories, databases and critical applications on the network and across firewalls to partner systems.
Novell SecureLogin provides single sign-on across multi-platform networks by automatically authenticating users to any applications and data to which they are authorised. This is enhanced by the use of iChain to provide web security services that control access to application and network resources across technical and organisational boundaries. Novell Secure Access Suite extends user-identity management capabilities to applications, platforms, databases and network resources that might be required to call them.
A number of administrative tools are supplied, including Novell Account Management and Novell Modular Authentication Service.
Nsure offers one of the most complete identity management suites available today. The philosophy that Novell have adopted that says identity management should be based on relationships, while not original, is still not widely adopted and should be.
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