Swainson: We need more ID management

TORONTO — Implementations of identity management solutions continue to grow across the enterprise but it isn’t growing as fast as the adoption of anti-virus solutions has in the past, according to Computer Associates president and CEO John Swainson.

“We used to think (ID management) could be centralized,” said Swainson. “We’re now living in a world of federated directories.”

Swainson, who holds a bachelor of applied science from the University of British Columbia, was in Toronto for this week’s Infosecurity conference where he spoke with press and analysts at a roundtable event.

According to a recent survey by The Strategic Counsel, 30 per cent of organizations haven’t thought about an ID solution. But, as Swainson pointed out, that could be “a huge threat to organizations if they don’t have one in place.”

To automate user ID provisions, enterprises should first streamline the roles within their companies. Swainson, however, said a business can’t do this person by person. Bell Canada, a CA customer, recently started using password self-serve where customers can reset their passwords via the Web without having to call the help desk. Bell has been able to reduce its costs from $7 to seven cents per call. This technology is also useful in the banking industry where regulations require banks to change passwords monthly, which has resulted in an increase in the number of calls to help desks.

ID management represents a US$2 billion business for CA today but the technology has been around for some time. “Single-sign-on is at least 10 years old,” said Swainson. “It’s different today with increased sensitivity around control and access issues and with the complexity of systems.”

Prior to joining CA just over a year-and-a-half ago, Swainson managed the Web services business at IBM for eight years. He said ID management, on a lesser scale, parallels Web services implementations. “Organizations need to look at existing apps and understand what to do before they stream them together,” he said, adding that it’s going to take some time for service-oriented architectures to be pervasive in the market.

“It’s a great opportunity for CA because the need to federate security and management becomes harder,” said Swainson. “We thrive on complexity.”

To help companies better manage their IT assets, the first thing they need to do is know what they are. With a plethora of vendor products across any one enterprise from services to applications to collaboration to business intelligence to databases to OSes, this can be a daunting task but can save businesses time and money in the long run. A major Canadian bank, for example, recently deployed a 120-day proof-of-concept asset management solution from CA, saving them $6 million during that period.

In another example, CA partner Empowered Networks did an asset assessment on one of its customers and found that it had operating systems on its routers that it didn’t know it had, according to Empowered president and CEO Glen Emo.

“People have stopped targeting servers and PCs and are going after routers,” said Emo. Empowered is a privately-held Canadian company with annual revenues of $35 million.

Empowered, has been using Concord’s eHealth solution (now part of CA’s portfolio after it acquired Concord last year) for 10 years and is a key part of its overall offering. Empowered has deployed eHealth at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to help it monitor worldwide traffic from 100 different countries over its network infrastructure.

Joanne Moretti, CA Canada general manager said CA’s channel business in the past year has increased from 10 per cent of its overall revenues to 33 per cent. CA Canada currently has 40 partners across the country covering all major verticals and geographic regions compared to 11 two or three years ago.

“In order to bring value to customers, we need to get partners aligned around process value,” said Moretti.

At the CA World conference last fall, CA launched its EITM group of products, which encompasses 26 tools to help system administrators manage risk, increase service levels and manage cost. EITM helps businesses manage and secure business processes, IT services and application environments with security, storage, enterprise systems and business service optimization management tools.

“Productivity continues to be a challenge for businesses,” said Joanne Moretti, CA Canada general manager. “(EITM) is one console to see server, storage and security events and put some business relevance to those silos of IT.”

A major Canadian bank that went live with CA’s EITM solution earlier this week has already been able to consolidate 25 help desks into one call centre, Moretti added.

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