Feeds

Microsoft brings Secure Web Services closer

Not there yet

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

As the noise of secure communications and identify management continues unabated and vendors clamour at the door, Microsoft's recent announcement of Web Services Enhancements 2.0 might have been missed, writes John McIntosh of Bloor Research.

This is a significant announcement, because of what it potentially means to the Web Services market and the security market. We all know that security for Web Services is the great inhibitor and until that is sorted out, no-one is going to drop their perimeter.

WSE 2.0 offers new security features which should simplify development and deployment of secure Web Service applications spanning company boundaries and trust domains, connecting and exchanging information with customer and partner systems.

According to Microsoft, WSE 2.0 means that developers can apply security policies to Web services with minimal lines of code and support interoperability across heterogeneous systems.

WSE 2.0 does this by building on the security, routing and attachment capabilities of version 1.0 and adds a foundation for building applications based on Web services specifications published by Microsoft and its industry partners including WS-Security, WS-Policy, WS-SecurityPolicy, WS-Trust, WS-SecureConversation and WS-Addressing.

It should be said that WSE 2.0 is a technology preview; the security capabilities that organisations might require to deploy live Web Service-based applications may not all be available.

Within the .NET Framework and WSE 2.0 is the capability to do many interesting things in terms of secure application development to support integration and federation of security through the value chain.

WSE is important because it introduces for the first time the ability to test the theories behind emerging WS-Security standards. Essentially, is it possible to build a system that can securely expose internal systems to partners as Web services, leveraging existing technology investments to generate future revenue opportunities?

Without the following new capabilities, the answer to that question would probably be no.

  • Token-issuing framework (WS-Trust, WS-SecureConversation) provides capabilities that build on WS-Security and define extensions to request and issue security tokens and to manage trust relationships and secure conversations.
  • Roles-based authorisation with integration into Windows security enables corporations to leverage their existing Windows domain credentials when accessing Web services or to integrate their own access control engine.
  • Declarative programming model (WS-Policy, WS-SecurityPolicy) enables developers to author policies that operate a runtime component, responsible for processing the SOAP headers in Web services that contain security and routing information and play a role in the validation of incoming and outgoing messages. For example, the runtime can automatically sign and encrypt a message based on the authored policy without the developer having to write code.
  • Message-based object model (WS-Addressing) provides customers with a message-based programming model over TCP and HTTP, allowing them to explore alternative types of SOAP-based applications such as ad hoc peer-to-peer applications.

To my mind, the bit still missing, other than resolving internal .NET Framework trust hierarchies, is that WS-Security lacks properties to mediate trust relationships. It assumes organisations developers will work this out for themselves.

And while developments in the area of Web Service security are to be welcomed, one cannot help but wonder why the security keys are still in the hands of the developers. It seems a strange position and suggests Microsoft have yet to fully grasp service-orientated architectures as the way forward.

© IT-Analysis.com

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.