CrossNodes Product Briefing: Authentication

For IT management, security is suddenly at the very top of every priority list. Where guarding against Web-based worms and viruses were a constant priority; suddenly every network and web user is suspect. Knowing who's on your networks and Web sites is now critical.

By Dayna Delmonico | Posted Oct 1, 2001
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Unfortunately, network and enterprise security is more important that any of us have dreamed possible. The very real threat of electronic terrorism bringing down global economies by reeking havoc with the world's financial and business institutions is real.

For IT management, security is suddenly at the very top of every priority list. Where guarding against Web-based worms and viruses were a constant priority; suddenly every network and web user is suspect. Knowing who's on your networks and Web sites is now critical.

CrossNodes Briefing on Authentication will give you a basic overview of the technology. The Product Briefing listing accompanying this article will help you narrow down product availability or provide additional alternatives for more robust authentication solutions.

Though instantaneous authentication help is available, there is much more to the authentication market and will be in the days to come.

In one week alone, Wall Street proved that data security, and authentication in particular, is now vital as investors injected millions into security technology companies. Many of those same companies are rapidly acquiring smaller security technology firms. The major player infighting, however, has gotten louder and stronger in the past few weeks.

There are two issues that authentication vendors have to settle --

  • Where the line gets drawn between a totally anamous Internet that users want and the right to know users that companies wants and law enforcement needs
  • Global authentication standards
It should come as no surprise that Microsoft's read on these issues are very different from Sun Microsystems. So much so that Sun and thirty-two of its closest friends have rapidly formed an Alliance around these issues. As of September 11, the luxury of fighting out the future of Internet-based E-commerce, as well as the security of internal networks and data disappeared.

Sun and friends "Liberty Alliance" was formed to manage authentication and identity in offline businesses and the Web while competing with Microsoft 's Passport Services and .Net. "Liberty Alliance" as envisioned is an "federated" authentication service where users will register once and all companies, in the "federation" can share identifying information. Though that portion is similar to Passport, Passport is an authentication technology; Liberty is a set of interfaces that allow existing authentication implementations to share information.

Whichever the de facto standard is ultimately based on, it will probably err on the side of caution rather than user privacy.

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