Novell preps new security push

Later this week Novell Inc. plans to take the wraps off a centralized security suite designed to manage access to applications, databases, and multiple platform types including the Web, wireless devices and VPNs (virtual private networks).

Based on existing products such as eDirectory and iChain, the solution will be Novell’s attempt to pull its slew of security point products into an integrated security infrastructure.

Furthermore, the software package aims to ease customer pain points associated with managing multiple user identifications and passwords and controlling user access across numerous applications and network platforms, according to officials at the Provo, Utah-based software vendor.

Leveraging a common framework based on users’ identities, the suite is designed to let IT administrators manage only one account for each user, regardless of the number of business applications or platforms a user needs to access.

In addition, the offering will extend authentication beyond passwords to include elements such as digital certificates, biometrics, tokens, and smart cards, Novell officials said.

Although the struggling software player’s big security push may wisely address critical customer issues with security administration and authentication, it may be too little, too late to persuade buyers, according to one analyst.

“With respect to Novell, the question may be, ‘Does it matter?’ These may be good ideas from an intellectual perspective, but will anyone buy from them?” said Eric Hemmendinger, research director at Aberdeen Group, in Boston.

But melding different types of security capabilities into a single solution is an ambitious effort that not many security or directory vendors have been able to achieve. Novell is likely hoping that if the new security play is successful, it could reinforce its existing customer base and yield new growth, he said.

Novell Canada in Markham, Ont., is at