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IBM adds role-based modeling to it security suite

Last week, IBM announced the release of its “Security Role and Policy Modeler” to augment its IBM Security Identity Manager suite, the company’s flagship software product for policy-driven IT security governance and access management.

The new addition is modeling analytics using sophisticated identity-management algorithms to ease the often tedious job of IT managers and security administrators in defining roles of employees that allow policy-based access to networking and computing resources for the company. It effectively automates the process of defining roles and formulating security policies.

The software tool can actively poll several directories and database systems that include Oracle, Siebel, SAP and Microsoft Active Directory which are widely used as HR repository about employee details including access privileges, according to Marc van Zadelhoff, IBM’s VP of strategy and product management for its security solutions.

As an analytic, the IBM security software breaks down and evaluate the pertinent data gathered from disparate databases to define a set of roles and their corresponding access rights allowing the administrator to label and group users for security purposes. This makes provisioning or de- provisioning groups of users based on roles possible through automating the setting up of role-based permissions.

The modeling aspect of the tool eliminates extensive manual reviews traditional done by security and IT managers in making decisions about organizational roles. A few employees who may not readily fall into model roles are treated as exceptions, but the IBM tool simplifies establishing role-based provisioning arrangements. For large companies with thousands of employees, this can be a time-consuming effort otherwise.

IBM is not the only computer company to offer modeling software products of this kind but IBM is optimistic its latest offering gets distinguished for its analytics which can flag unusual or inconsistent employee behavior in role access along with auto-renewal of expired access.

Early adopters of IBM’s security software include one of India’s telecoms provider Bharti Airtel, and IT service firm Cognizant whose security director, Barry Miracle, said he expects the tool to improve the efficiency of compliance reporting. IBM has not disclosed the cost of its Security Role and Policy Modeler, but points out that implementing identity management to secure large companies can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.