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What available management software can centralize access control to Web applications?

Unifying access to a diverse set of Web applications can be a challenge. In our expert Q&A, Joel Dubin recommends products that can provide centralized access management.

Is there an enterprise-wide software management program that can manage access to our Web-based applications, like vendor-specific programs located throughout various departments, and Microsoft applications, including Microsoft Outlook?
If you're looking to unify access to such a diverse set of applications, consider enterprise single sign-on ( SSO). If you're just looking to centralize access management for these applications, then there are other tools available on the market.

As for SSO, the range of products includes IBM's Tivoli, Microsoft Passport and similar tools from Hewlett Packard Co. and Cisco Systems Inc. Other products of note are those from Ping Identity Corp. and the open source SourceID. For small and midsized businesses, Imprivata Inc. offers a suitable product.

In terms of centralized access management systems, Novell Inc.'s Access Manager 3 offers centralized access control to diverse platforms, including enterprise and Web applications. It can be integrated into an SSL VPN and can also be used for SSO and remote access.

Another interesting approach was taken at Purdue University, whose IT staff developed an in-house system with LDAP, RADIUS and Web services. The staff created a centralized access management system for 25 departments. This might be a bigger project than your company could tackle, but it's an interesting approach nonetheless.

Aside from pure access management devices, there are centralized monitoring tools from vendors such as Verdasys Inc., Reconnex Inc. and Vontu Inc., which all offer Web applications that can monitor access and ensure compliance with IT security policies. These systems don't control or set up access to systems, but they're quite granular and can provide dashboards for assessing the performance of any system you choose.

More information:

  • Review the components of an application security management system.
  • Learn how SSO can help enterprises.
  • This was last published in December 2006

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