Managing network identities allows organisations to build stronger, more tailored relationships and services - built to widely different levels of security. But, according to Stefano Mattiello, managing director of Sun Microsystems SA, companies need to get their network identity houses in order before they can start taking advantage of all the opportunities associated with the Internet and Web services.
"Organisations have three identity objectives and foremost is the need for heightened security and identity control around an organisation's Web interactions in the form of accurate authorisation and authentication," explains Mattiello.
"Next is the need for an open identity service, rather than one with the potential to disintermediate them downstream. Finally, companies need a rapid and comprehensive way to set up a robust, scalable and reliable backbone for establishing their own network identity system."
The Liberty Alliance
Sun Microsystems is a founding member of the Liberty Alliance ( www.projectliberty.org
), which seeks to develop and deploy a federated network identity that enables ubiquitous single sign-on, decentralised authentication and open authorisations from any device connected to the Internet. Other Liberty Alliance members include ActivCard, Bell Canada, Bank of GM, NTT DoCoMo, AOL, Cisco Systems, HP, Nokia, Master Card and France Telecom.
Driving these goals of the Liberty Alliance, Sun recently announced the immediate availability of the Sun ONE (open net environment) platform for network identity. This platform comprises of hardware, software and services assisting organisations to rapidly establish an open end-to-end network identity infrastructure.
"Once the Liberty Alliance specifications are available later this year, our platform for network identity will support the alliance's federated network identity," says Mattiello.
The Sun ONE Platform for Network Identity includes two offerings - enterprise and Internet editions. The enterprise edition is designed to manage up to 10 000 online identities inside the firewall and Internet edition is designed to manage up to 25 000 identities outside the firewall.
Concludes Mattiello: "Federated services will result in new levels of business efficiency. It is the only road to a network-based economic system that opens the door to a world of opportunity in this era of B2B and B2B e-commerce."