VARs Secure In Identity Management

Identity management, a discipline that is part security and part networking, is gaining traction among enterprise-level vendors and solution providers. Estimates vary, but some say the technology could represent a more than $100 million industry vertical by 2005.

At last check, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard all offered identity management software and directory services.

Smaller players have entered the market as well, including Courion, OctetString, MaXware and Oblix. And while some solution pro-viders are waiting for a critical mass of Web services development work to create the requirements for identity management products, others are jumping into the game.

Gary Miller, vice president of marketing, strategy and business development at Oblix integrator Qunara, Winnipeg, Manitoba, said he sees provisioning as the next big thing in security management. Miller expects future tools to go further than current provisioning systems, limiting user access based on policies and other parameters such as proximity to the network, digital certificates, and even some hardware-oriented multifactor authentication.

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Chris Catron, director of identity management and access solutions at Courion integrator Unisys, Blue Bell, Pa., agreed. "An ID management strategy enables the creation of trusted communities, both internally and externally," Catron said. "[It] ensures that you're doing business with people you're supposed to be doing business with."

Other VARs, such as ePresence, Westboro, Mass., are following the lead of large vendors. Scott Silk, senior vice president and general manager at ePresence, deemed access management the most critical issue of secure networking, and said it is never too early to get a jump on that. "Big guys don't make investments in a space until they see the whites of customers' eyes and see that customers are willing to spend some money on this stuff," Silk said.

Wherever identity management evolves next, it's here to stay. "There's no doubt that this is the future of secure computing," said Chris O'Connor, director of corporate security strategy at IBM Software, Somers, N.Y. "Staying on top of identity management is staying ahead of the game."