Following the lead of its competitive counterparts, Oracle Corp. on Thursday unveiled its own push into the identity management realm with a new offering designed to lower costs and increase security of enterprise user identification.

According to the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company, Oracle Identity Management software essentially trims down overhead associated with confirming employee, customer and partner identities in the enterprise, while controlling access to applications and information based on set policies.

Simply put, the software is designed to let IT administrators manage and control user sign-on and password capabilities through a central service, thus saving precious time for both the administrator and the users. Users do not have to enter several passwords to access different systems, and administrators can register new users once and synchronize that user across different systems simultaneously.

To do this, Oracle Identity Management includes lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) services, which store and manage user IDs and privileges. The software also offers Web single sign-on services, giving users one user name and password to access several different applications, along with public key infrastructure (PKI) services such as certificate authorities that assign digital certificates to users. Also included are directory integration services that allow the software to integrate with a corporation’s existing directory and security environments.

According to a September brief by Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., enterprises venturing into identity management projects should consider several factors before selecting one offering over another.

Forrester recommended that enterprises should look at systems management vendors for solutions since these companies – including IBM Corp., BMC Software and Computer Associates Inc. – have strong roots in automating access and analyzing users’ effects on infrastructure demand. The research firm also suggested organizations combine LDAP directories with identity management and should seek assistance from large systems integrators with identity management practices like Accenture Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Lastly, Forrester warned enterprises to beware of the small brand vendor, as the firm predicts acquisitions to displace partnerships in the near future.

Oracle Identity Manager is available now with Oracle Database and Oracle Application Server. For details, visit