RSA adds federated ID management

RSA Security Inc. this week announced Federated Identity Manager, Java-based server software that can be used to exchange recognized “trust identities” among businesses to provide authentication and authorization for customers and employees.

RSA has included this identity management feature as an add-on to its Web access software, ClearTrust, but now is making it available as a stand-alone product, according to Howard Tieg, senior project manager. Federated Identity Manager supports the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards Security Assertions Markup Language (SAML) 1.0 and 1.1 specifications. The software also can use RSA SecurID tokens for strong authentication in lieu of simple passwords.

By fall, RSA plans to extend identity management software to address a number of requirements, such as mandated log-out controls or identity mappings of differing online identities, that haven’t been part of SAML but are in demand from businesses.

RSA is backing the work that the Liberty Alliance Project and Web Services Federation have done in these areas. “There’s quite a lot of fragmentation here,” Tieg says. “But hopefully we can have convergence between them.”

According to Burton Group analyst Daniel Blum, there are a handful of other vendors, including Oblix, which have products that compete with Federated Identity Manager. Netegrity Inc. has a product called AffiliateMinder, he adds, “but it only communicates with (Netegrity’s Web access control software) SiteMinder and only receives, and doesn’t send, assertions.”

Wolters Kluwer NV, a global legal IS firm headquartered in Amsterdam, uses RSA’s ClearTrust Web access software to provide customer access, and recently began deploying Federated Identity Manager.

“We’re going to use it internally first in our tax and accounting divisions,” says Mike Antico, CTO for the North America units. “We’re using it to link the dozens of legacy systems for authentication we have. It’s easier to do this than custom coding.”

Antico said Federated Identity Management offers single sign-on to employees and customers by exchanging trust identities so that it’s not necessary to use multiple passwords or other authentication to gain access to multiple services.

Federated Identity Manager is priced starting at US$25,000.

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