IBM, Oracle Offer Cross-Platform Identity Management

Updated: Both companies aim to provide application suites useful in heterogeneous enterprise environments.

Oracle and IBM are rolling out new technology to make sure that organizations know whos got their fingers in the data pie.

Oracle Corp. on Tuesday released its identity management suite, Oracle Identity Management, which integrates technology it acquired when Oracle purchased Oblix Inc. at the end of March. For its part, IBM also on Tuesday announced an update to its Tivoli Identity Manager that will better capture user and account information and simulate security policies.

Both companies have been busy releasing products meant to play in heterogeneous shops, designed to pull data out of business and application silos: Oracle with its latest release, and IBM with its Tivoli Federated Identity Manager, which it released in March.

Oracle has long been a player in the identity management market, but its purchase of Oblix was meant to help it bust out of the straitjacket of catering to Oracle-only shops.

The Oblix-enabled Identity Management suite helps the company to do that by extending support for heterogeneous systems.

According to a statement from Oracle, the new product will help enterprises manage identities throughout their organizations, as it supports all leading applications, directories and platforms.

"When we acquired Oblix, Oracle provided an outline for how we would rapidly integrate Oblix technology with Oracles existing identity offerings," said Hasan Rizvi, vice president of Security and Identity Management Products at Oracle, in a statement. "This release marks the first milestone in delivering on that commitment and brings together the best features and technologies that will help us to meet the strong demand for Oracles identity products."

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about Oracles acquisition of Oblix.

Indeed, theres a strong demand for heterogeneous identity management products in general, thanks in large part to regulatory pressures coming from sources such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Californias privacy act, according to analysts.

"The idea of having accountability, determining who accessed which resources, that you can demonstrate that youve implemented things like separation of duties and those kinds of audit controls, is [particularly] important in the government market," said Phil Schacter, vice president of security and identity management at Burton Group, headquartered in Midvale, Utah, at the time Oracle announced the Oblix purchase.

As the market has heated up, so too have acquisitions in this space accelerated. In October, Computer Associates International Inc. announced that it would buy identity management vendor Netegrity Inc. for $430 million in cash. Then BMC Software Inc. picked up identity management vendor Calendra for $33 million in January.

The new release of Oracles Identity Management features enhanced Oracle COREid Access and Identity, COREid Federation, COREid Provisions and Web Services Manager.

The updated COREid Access and Identity provides updated support for IBM WebSphere and BEA WebLogic Portal servers, designed to help organizations to provide secure access to applications and content delivered through those portals.

The updated COREid Federation offers incremental Oracle Database and SQL Server support for federated identity information.

The new release has enhanced COREid Provisioning with support of Microsoft Corp.s Active Directory and Identity Integration Server. Also, the Oracle Internet Directory provisioning platform has been certified to provide customers with an out-of-the-box provisioning solution.

Oracle Web Services Manager now contains additional agents for .Net, TIBCO and WebSphere, available to apply Web services security, monitoring and policy management in these environments.

Oracle Identity Management, available now, is the security backbone for Oracle Fusion Middleware. Project Fusion is the name for a family of products in which Oracle is stitching together functionality from all of its recently acquired technologies, including, in particular, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about the importance of identity management to organizational success.

For its part, IBMs Tivoli Identity Manager software has picked up a number of new features that the company asserts will help enterprises get better visibility into their security management operations.

Policy simulation will present "what if" scenarios to take the guesswork out of changing security policies, while new, centralized reports on security policy, access rights and audit events will help to address compliance needs.

Policy compliance and remediation will route complex compliance issues through workflows, also offering recommendations on dealing with such issues.

Improved administrator teaming is designed to offer streamlined notification, bulk to-do item management, and task ownership and delegation.

Policy and configuration import and export will help to migrate policy and configuration settings between various servers or environments, such as from quality assurance to production.

The rationale behind the update is to reduce IT administration costs and to increase user and IT efficiency, with benefits such as decreasing help desk calls by offering the use of Web self-service for password and personal information changes.

According to IBM, many businesses are overwhelmed by security threats coming at them from every direction. "It is impacting their ability to focus on their core business imperatives," said Cal Slemp, vice president of security and privacy services at IBM Global Services, in a statement.

"Many are facing risks associated with unauthorized employees or users gaining access to sensitive corporate data or personal information due to inadequate information management and security controls," Slemp said. "The protection of a firms reputation and brand is directly linked to the secure management of data, the applications that use that data, and its people and assets. Companies should embrace a holistic approach to evaluating and ensuring that their business is secure."

IBM Tivoli Identity Manager 4.6 will be available in the third quarter, priced per user or per processor. Additional discounts will be extended to existing IBM customers.

Editors Note: This story was updated to give details on IBMs release of Tivoli Identity Manager.

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