IBM on Monday will announce enhancements to its Tivoli line of identity management software that could help users tackle compliance regulations such as HIPAA and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as improve customer service and bolster physical and IT security.
IBM has added integration and automation features to its Tivoli Access Manager family, IBM Tivoli Identity Manager, IBM Tivoli Privacy Manager, IBM Tivoli Directory Integrator and IBM Tivoli Directory Server.
These products will support a recently announced partnership with GE Interlogix, Austin, Texas, to fill the gap between security systems used for protecting physical property, such as ID badges, and those used for protecting computers, such as passwords.
Identity management software is used to control access to resources within a system by matching user rights and restrictions with the established identity. In an enterprise setting, identity management is used to increase security and productivity, while decreasing cost and redundant effort.
There are a number of identity management tools on the market, but IBM is one of a small number of vendors to offer products with this level of integration, said Phil Schacter, a vice president and director at the Burton Group.
"Identity management is a growing market, and there are quite a few different vendors maturing at different rates," said Schacter, who's based in East Bay, Calif. "If IBM has done anything [with these upgrades] that gives it an edge in this market, it's that it has tightly integrated its products."
The enhancements to IBM Tivoli Access Manager version 5.1 include a function that allows businesses to aggregate user information from any source, such as finance, human resources, partner and supply chain applications, to make complex access control decisions. This new approach will help eliminate redundancy of lists and let companies react to changes more quickly and efficiently, said Joe Anthony, director of integrated identity management for IBM Tivoli in Austin, Texas.
For example, when a customer makes a financial transaction, the bank may first need to confirm that the user is over 21 years old, is a resident of a specific state and meets a minimum credit rating -- or whatever attribute that transaction requires. The software can evaluate the necessary criteria and determine whether the customer can move forward with the transaction -- without the lengthy and time-consuming process of pulling information manually from a number of sources that are not integrated.
"This package relieves those issues in the back end," Anthony said.
IBM Tivoli Privacy Manager version 1.2 now provides real-time compliance checks of up to 100 transactions per second and new privacy monitors for applications to speed deployment.
IBM Tivoli Identity Manager version 4.5, provisioning software that distributes digital identities to e-business systems, now includes an advanced workflow engine that automates customer workflow requests -- based on specific business policies -- such as opening a help desk ticket or revoking an employee's security badge.
"Here we added additional reporting capabilities so that businesses can see what's being accessed and for what business purpose," Anthony said. "As you start worrying about records compliance, Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA, it's very important to be able to see who's doing what, who's giving access and for what reason."
The industry is actually in the middle of a general market adoption of identity products, and compliance is driving much of that, Schacter said.
"That's clearly becoming a top-of-line issue, even at the board level," he said.
But more important is the business driver -- the carrot that's being tangled.
"The carrot is a more efficient business process, like better customer service," he said.
IBM Tivoli Directory Integrator version 5.2 is now integrated with Tivoli Identity Manager, which Schacter said is the key to these offerings. The set can provide real-time data synchronization and link information from disparate IT security and physical security data sources.
Also on Monday, IBM will announce that 30 new partners and resellers have joined with IBM to help customers deploy identity management software. Among the 30 new partners and resellers are: Alphacourt Ltd., Atheos, ECS Computers (Asia) Pte Ltd., Fastrack IT Solutions, Integer Knowledge, iRise, Kilarney, En Technologies Corp., Mycroft Inc., Pontis Research, Syscom and Wireborne Professional Services.
IBM Tivoli Identity Manager 4.5 and IBM Tivoli Privacy Manager 1.2 are available immediately. The IBM Tivoli Access Manager 5.1 family, IBM Tivoli Directory Integrator 5.2 and IBM Tivoli Directory Server 5.2 will be available before the end of the year.
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