the tweney report

what you need to know about technology. by d. f. tweney


2002-07-29: Who are you?

Mention directory servers to the average person and you'll get either a blank stare or a knowing look and a yawn. That's because these servers, which manage lists of users on a computer network, play a decidedly prosaic role within corporate information systems. But as we enter the increasingly interconnected world of Web services, directory servers -- newly dubbed "identity-management solutions" -- will be critical.

Identity management is the topic of my most recent column for Business 2.0, now online at the address below [1]. This column only scratches the surface of this important but technical topic. In a nutshell, keeping track of identities -- who's who -- is a key component of network security, particularly as companies start to weave more and more digital interconnections between themselves. It's no longer as simple as maintaining a list of authorized network users; now you've got to track business roles, permissions, applications that do work on behalf of users. And often you've got to track all these identities across a transaction that might span a half dozen different companies, from wholesalers to retailers to shippers to service providers.

To delve more deeply into the subject of identity management, check out the Burton Group, whose recent Catalyst conference in San Francisco was like a boot camp on identity management. Burton's CEO Jamie Lewis recently wrote a column on the topic that is worth reading [2]. And Digital ID World, a recently-launched news site and conference, provides a useful radar screen for tracking digital identity technologies [3].


[1] The Importance of Knowing Who's Who, by Dylan Tweney
published in Business 2.0, 2002-07-26

[2] "For the Web services model to work, security is paramount. That means you have to know who people are, what their relationship to your business is, what they can do in the context of that relationship, and when they can do it." --column by Jamie Lewis, Burton Group CEO

[3] Digital ID World

Also recently published by Dylan Tweney:

Remote Workers of Your Company, Unite!

Online collaboration software hasn't eliminated business travel or long-distance phone calls. But as Hewlett-Packard has discovered, it can make a lot of business tasks more efficient.

Companies such as eRoom, Intraspect, WebEx (WEBX), and even Microsoft (MSFT) (with its SharePoint products) have been trying for years to overcome the barriers of physical distance and eliminate business travel, with software that lets people in different locations work together without leaving their desks. But corporate America just hasn't taken the bait. Business travelers continue to while away the hours in airport waiting lounges, nattering on their cell phones and running up T&E budgets.

But collaboration software does work well, particularly in niche markets like manufacturing, supply-chain management, and product development.

Hewlett Packard illustrates the value of online collaboration: The company used software from eRoom during its merger with Compaq, and has been using eRoom for managing its complex supply chain for several years now.

Read the whole story here:

Remote Workers of Your Company, Unite!
published in Business 2.0, 2002-07-12


copyright © 2002 d. f. tweney / tweney media

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