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IBM to launch new security software

Tivoli Federated Identity Manager is designed to provide a secure network for businesses, their partners and customers.

IBM is expected to announce new security software on Monday that allows a business' employees, partners and customers to securely share information over the Internet.

Tivoli Federated Identity Manager is the company's first federated security software, although this is not its first foray into the federated realm. Last October, at the urging of a client, IBM joined Liberty Alliance, an Internet security consortium that's developing industry standards for verifying a person's identity when he or she accesses Web sites.

Federated identity allows employees, customers or partners to log on to a company's Web site, get their identity authenticated and then have that site vouch for their identity while they try to gain access to other companies' Web sites and networks.

"Employees who want to look up heath care benefits may have to look at a third-party site and, typically, would have to enter another log-on name and password," said Joe Anthony, IBM Tivoli's identity management director. "Now, they could link in automatically to that third-party site."

The federated identity manager will allow users to sign on for internal and external services throughout the company and to contact any of the company's partners authorized to use the TFIM.

The product is compatible with several federated identity standards and specifications, including Liberty, SAML, WS-Federation, WS-Security and WS-Trust.

TFIM is expected to begin shipping later this month, Anthony said.

Industry analysts say the product will go head-to-head with Computer Associates' identity management offerings.

Computer Associates International, via its Netegrity acquisition last year, offers Web services security management and identity access management.

"It's still an open question how CA will put all its pieces together" now that it has acquired Netegrity, said Jason Bloomberg, a senior analyst with ZapThink. "It's still a horse race."