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Identity management challenges - Essay Example

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E-commerce has been part of the marketing and sales methodology for such organizations since the Internet opened to commercial organizations in 1995. Organizations also make use of the Internet to allow their employees to telecommute and to facilitate communication with business partners…
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Download file to see previous pages The same user profile may be replicated a number of times in different applications, each time with a different level of access permission. In large organizations competently managing user profiles - ensuring that they have the correct authorizations - is a time consuming, and therefore expensive - procedure for IT staff and managers.
Increased regulatory compliance requirements such as Data Protection legislation in the European Union and Sarbanes-Oxley across the US mean that organizations are at greater risk of financial penalties and the loss of goodwill if they are perceived to be non-compliant.
In a typical network each account holder needs to be authenticated, authorized and granted access permissions to network objects. In order to share data users must be able to access the same network objects. This requires the IT users and mangers to spend precious time walking over the same ground, with perhaps one or two changes in access permission on a case by case basis. For organizations with thousands of network users this is neither time nor cost effective for IT teams/managers or ultimately network users.
IAM solutions are relatively new, and consist of an integrated stable of tools. Increasingly these tools are based upon open standards to ensure as much backward compatibility as possible with legacy systems. The tools assist organizations to streamline identity management, manage data consistently across different platforms and hence enhance regulatory compliance. Well known tools include:
Centralized user directories (such as light-weight directory access protocol, LDAP) - to track a user's credentials;
Password management systems - allow users to reset their passwords using a variety of means of authentication;
Access management (or provisioning) systems - manage user access to multiple systems. Such systems usually provide workflow capabilities to handle change requests from users or departments.
Web access management tools - primarily used to manage user access to multiple web-based applications.
Single sign on systems - allow users to sign on once for access to multiple applications.


Costing an IAM integration project depends on the number of users, types of applications already installed, platform interoperability, the time-scale, the amount of expertise within the organization and so forth, leading to a wide variation in final project costs. It is very difficult to centrally manage multiple applications, particularly when they reside on different operating systems and hardware platforms, with different authentication and authorization protocols. A minimum cost for implementing an IAM is $100,000 per annum in license fees (in a market which is predicted to grow from $1.2b in 2005 to $8b by 2009) (Tynan, page 2). The most costly and time consuming area of digital identity management is support for legacy systems (such as mainframes and older applications). Such systems rarely support external user management tools in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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