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IBM Offers Federated Identity Management

IBM has announced new security software built for small and mid-size organizations that wish to establish a single password to log on to organizations outside of their internal network, and to more effectively manage identities across their infrastructure.

IBM Tivoli Federated Identity Manager Business Gateway brings enterprise-level federated identity to smaller organizations that need to connect with larger organizations securely via the Web for reasons such as an independent retailer checking inventory, an insurance company branch requiring access to parent company resources, or a service provider needing to sell new services such as a ringtone.

Federated Identity Manager Business Gateway is designed to meet the speed, ease-of-use and affordability requirements of SMB customers. By simplifying the required architecture, this offering will allow faster, lower cost deployments of federated single sign on.

In today's marketplace, businesses need to collaborate with customers, partners, agents and suppliers online, but are now finding themselves with multiple user identities and passwords for a variety of online accounts. Federated identity allows employees, customers or partners to log on to a company's website, get their identity authenticated and then have that site vouch for their identity so they can gain access to other companies' websites and networks without having to log on again.

"Many smaller companies that develop innovative products need to use larger companies as a selling channel," said Hershel Harris, vice president, storage and security software, IBM Tivoli. "Collaboration with customers, partners, agents, or providers often plays a key role in moving toward a service-oriented architecture. Federated identity management ties companies together in a secure fashion."

Unlike many competitive offerings, Federated Identity Manager Business Gateway does not rely on proprietary interfaces that tightly bind business applications to the federation software. The software provides interoperability with federation partners using federated identity standards and specifications, including SAML and Web Services standards. This loose coupling between Federated Identity Manager Business Gateway, business applications, and federation partners provides faster deployment times and reduced ongoing maintenance costs.

Federated Identity Manager Business Gateway also provides audit logs, tracking and incident reports -- as well as security best practices -- to meet corporate and regulatory compliance policies.

In a 2006 IBM SMB Global Survey, more than half of the C-level executives from more than 1,000 SMB organizations around the world named "collaboration across employees, partners and/or suppliers" and "speed to market with new products/services" as their chief business challenges. They also said the top area they intended to invest capital and resources was enterprise wide security.

Federated Identity Manager Business Gateway has a server-based pricing model, enabling clients to start with a single application.

IBM's Tivoli security software helps prevent unauthorized access to valuable customer, employee and business data and facilitates compliance with corporate security policy and regulatory requirements. It also complements IBM Internet Security Systems products and services. Tivoli security software is part of IBM's portfolio of service management software, which automates some of the most challenging processes associated with managing a complex IT environment. These include managing storage devices, and deploying new software releases and patches. The software is designed to help customers fight rising IT costs, manage constant change and meet the demand to stay competitive in the marketplace.

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