Q

Creating a secure intranet with secure file access management

Is it possible to allow employees to access sensitive information via an intranet securely? In this expert response, Randall Gamby explains how Web access management software might help.

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What is the best way to secure access to files and documents on an intranet website? Users access the site with login and password credentials. Besides implementing SSL on the Web server to encrypt data transmissions, how can we ensure that only certain users have access to certain information?

You can use file access management to create a secure intranet. What you're looking for is a Web access management (WAM) product; you can find these products through any of the large identity management vendors.

Web access management systems are designed to provide users with secure access to applications through the Web. To do this, they use directory services for profile and policy storage and administrative interfaces for policies; they also use policy decision points , and agent-based and proxy-based policy enforcement points. Access can be managed directly on the WAM, or it can be integrated into the front-end of a portal implementation. WAMs also let organizations federate domains using the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), which enables users to access resources across domains with a single login (users such as an external vendor who manages an organization's employee benefits).

But be aware, though you didn't mention non-Web-based applications, WAMs do not control access to applications that use proprietary protocols. Other technologies such as provisioning systems and single sign-on (SSO) products are required to secure those environments.

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This was first published in January 2010
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