Microsoft revamps ID management offering

By Brian Fonseca, IDG News Service |  Security

Microsoft Corp. finally placed a definitive stake in the lucrative identity management market Wednesday by unveiling a revamped version of its Meta Directory product, dubbed Microsoft Identity Integration Server 2003.

In conjunction with its new offering, Microsoft also introduced "Identity and Access Management Solution Accelerator," a new set of prescriptive guidelines created with Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP to help customers build and test identity management infrastructures. Partnerships with Oblix Inc. and OpenNetworks Technologies Inc. will help extend Microsoft's reach to cross-platform levels as well.

Microsoft Identity Integration Server (MIIS) improves upon the software giant's Meta Directory Server through the addition of new features including automated account provisioning, the synchronization of identity information, and Web-based self-service password management capabilities, said Michael Stevenson, lead product manager for Windows Server Division for Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.

As part of its fledgling identity management strategy, Microsoft rolled out new offerings for Windows Server 2003, which will appear by the end of the third quarter.

For customers desiring a directory service to provide application specific information toward applications developed in-house, Microsoft announced its new Active Directory in Application Mode (ADAM). Stevenson said ADAM will allow customers to deploy Active Directory as a LDAP directory service for application-specific data while using their distributed Active Directory infrastructure for single-sign-on.

Also, Windows Server 2003 will include the Identity Integration Feature Pack for Windows Server Directory, and Directory Services Mark-up Language version 2.0 (DSML v.2). The added capabilities will let developers represent directory structural information and directory operations as XML documents.

In addition, Microsoft plans to introduce Microsoft Audit Collection System in the 4th quarter of 2003. A key component of Microsoft's identity management strategy, the product will enable customers to consolidate security event logs into a single location to offer intelligence capable of identifying a users' access. As part of the announcement, Microsoft will also announce support and partnerships for Microsoft Identity Platform.

Stevenson said customers faithful to Windows Server as their central identity platform will be rewarded by carrying the investment forward through Microsoft's aggressive Web services security development -- spearheaded by its WS-Security roadmap focusing on interoperable trust and identity services, standardization -- and be able to use the software as a federated ID tool.

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