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Microsoft enters Identity Management market

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Microsoft threw its hat into the corporate access and identity management market yesterday with the release of a revamped version of its meta-directory product, Microsoft Identity Integration Server (MIIS) 2003.

MIIS is designed as a mean for enterprises to integrate information from multiple repositories for a single, complete view of user information.

The product is designed to make identity management easier by automating the process of establishing and eliminating user accounts and enabling self-service password management.

Microsoft is also developed a planning and implemented guide for identity management deployments in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers, called "The Microsoft Identity Management Solution Accelerator". This, along with various Active Directory hook ins, will be made available at no additional charge to Win 2003 users over the course of the summer.

As well as PwC, other leading systems integrators including Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Fujitsu Services, HP Services and Unisys have pledged to help their customers implement Microsoft's identity management software.

This support bolster's Microsoft's credibilty in a market where it is going head to head with strong incumbents such as IBM, RSA Security and Novell.

Just two months ago, the company announced a flaw in the password reset tool of its Passport service. This could compromise the details of any one of the service's 200 million users. A similar vulnerability, but this time affecting only users of Passport accounts dating back four years or more, came to light just yesterday. Even though Microsoft has fixed this latest Passport flaw the timing could hardly have been worse.

In fairness, Microsoft Identity Integration Server is a very different proposition to Passport. Passport may have been presented as a federated authentication system but nobody really took that too seriously.

With MIIS, Redmond means business and has already persuaded a number of its ISVs to develop products based around its product. Technologies from companies like Business Layers, biometrics firm DigitalPersona, ePresence, M-Tech Information Technology, Oblix and OpenNetwork Technologies have been designed to operate in conjunction with Microsoft's identity management platform.

MIIS 2003 can be considered Microsoft's second enterprise security product following the launch of its Internet Security and Acceleration Server firewall/caching product a few years back. ®

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