Wednesday Jun 26, 2013

Taking the Plunge - or Dipping Your Toe - into the Fluffy IAM Cloud by Paul Dhanjal (Simeio Solutions)

In our last three posts, we’ve examined the revolution that’s occurring today in identity and access management (IAM). We looked at the business drivers behind the growth of cloud-based IAM, the shortcomings of the old, last-century IAM models, and the new opportunities that federation, identity hubs and other new cloud capabilities can provide by changing the way you interact with everyone who does business with you.

In this, our final post in the series, we’ll cover the key things you, the enterprise architect, should keep in mind when considering moving IAM to the cloud.

Invariably, what starts the consideration process is a burning business need: a compliance requirement, security vulnerability or belt-tightening edict. Many on the business side view IAM as the “silver bullet” – and for good reason. You can almost always devise a solution using some aspect of IAM.

The most critical question to ask first when using IAM to address the business need is, simply: is my solution complete? Typically, “business” is not focused on the big picture. Understandably, they’re focused instead on the need at hand: Can we be HIPAA compliant in 6 months? Can we tighten our new hire, employee transfer and termination processes? What can we do to prevent another password breach? Can we reduce our service center costs by the end of next quarter?

The business may not be focused on the complete set of services offered by IAM but rather a single aspect or two. But it is the job – indeed the duty – of the enterprise architect to ensure that all aspects are being met. It’s like remodeling a house but failing to consider the impact on the foundation, the furnace or the zoning or setback requirements. While the homeowners may not be thinking of such things, the architect, of course, must.

At Simeio Solutions, the way we ensure that all aspects are being taken into account – to expose any gaps or weaknesses – is to assess our client’s IAM capabilities against a five-step maturity model ranging from “ad hoc” to “optimized.” The model we use is similar to Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. It’s based upon some simple criteria, which can provide a visual representation of how well our clients fair when evaluated against four core categories:

·         Program Governance

·         Access Management (e.g., Single Sign-On)

·         Identity and Access Governance (e.g., Identity Intelligence)

·         Enterprise Security (e.g., DLP and SIEM)

Often our clients believe they have a solution with all the bases covered, but the model exposes the gaps or weaknesses. The gaps are ideal opportunities for the cloud to enter into the conversation.

The complete process is straightforward:

1.    Look at the big picture, not just the immediate need – what is our roadmap and how does this solution fit?

2.    Determine where you stand with respect to the four core areas – what are the gaps?

3.    Decide how to cover the gaps – what role can the cloud play?

Returning to our home remodeling analogy, at some point, if gaps or weaknesses are discovered when evaluating the complete impact of the proposed remodel – if the existing foundation wouldn’t support the new addition, for example – the owners need to decide if it’s time to move to a new house instead of trying to remodel the old one.

However, with IAM it’s not an either-or proposition – i.e., either move to the cloud or fix the existing infrastructure. It’s possible to use new cloud technologies just to cover the gaps.

Many of our clients start their migration to the cloud this way, dipping in their toe instead of taking the plunge all at once. Because our cloud services offering is based on the Oracle Identity and Access Management Suite, we can offer a tremendous amount of flexibility in this regard. The Oracle platform is not a collection of point solutions, but rather a complete, integrated, best-of-breed suite. Yet it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. You can choose just the features and capabilities you need using a pay-as-you-go model, incrementally turning on and off services as needed. Better still, all the other capabilities are there, at the ready, whenever you need them.

Spooling up these cloud-only services takes just a fraction of the time it would take a typical organization to deploy internally. SLAs in the cloud may be higher than on premise, too. And by using a suite of software that’s complete and integrated, you can dramatically lower cost and complexity.

If your in-house solution cannot be migrated to the cloud, you might consider using hardware appliances such as Simeio’s Cloud Interceptor to extend your enterprise out into the network. You might also consider using Expert Managed Services. Cost is usually the key factor – not just development costs but also operational sustainment costs. Talent or resourcing issues often come into play when thinking about sustaining a program. Expert Managed Services such as those we offer at Simeio can address those concerns head on.

In a cloud offering, identity and access services lend to the new paradigms described in my previous posts. Most importantly, it allows us all to focus on what we're meant to do – provide value, lower costs and increase security to our respective organizations. It’s that magic “silver bullet” that business knew you had all along.

If you’d like to talk more, you can find us at simeiosolutions.com.

Tuesday Jun 25, 2013

Register for a free webcast presented by ISC2: Identity Auditing Techniques for Reducing Operational Risk and Internal Delays

Join us tomorrow, June 26 @ 10:00 am PST for Part 1 of a 3 part security series co-presented by ISC2

Part 1 will deal focus on Identity Auditing techniques and will be delivered by Neil Gandhi, Principal Product Manager at Oracle and Brandon Dunlap, Managing Director at Brightfly

Register for Part 1: Identity Auditing Techniques for Reducing Operational Risk and Internal Delays

...

Part 2 will focus on how mobile device access is changing the performance and workloads of IDM directory systems and will be delivered by Etienne Remillon, Senior Principal Product Manager at Oracle, and Brandon Dunlap, Managing Director at Brightfly

Register for Part 2: Optimizing Directory Architecture for Mobile Devices and Applications

...

Finally, Part 3 will focus on what you need to do to support native mobile communications and security protocols and will be presented by Sid Mishra, Senior Principal Product Manager at Oracle, and Brandon Dunlap, Managing Director at Brightfly.

Register for Part 3: Using New Design Patterns to Improve Mobile Access Control


It's not just “Single Sign-on” by Steve Knott (aurionPro SENA)

It is true that Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-on (Oracle ESSO) started out as purely an application single sign-on tool but as we have seen in the previous articles in this series the product has matured into a suite of tools that can do more than just automated single sign-on and can also provide rapidly deployed, cost effective solution to many demanding password management problems.

In the last article of this series I would like to discuss three cases where customers faced password scenarios that required more than just single sign-on and how some of the less well known tools in the Oracle ESSO suite “kitbag” helped solve these challenges.

Case #1

One of the issues often faced by our customers is how to keep their applications compliant. I had a client who liked the idea of automated single sign-on for most of his applications but had a key requirement to actually increase the security for one specific SOX application. For the SOX application he wanted to secure access by using two-factor authentication with a smartcard. The problem was that the application did not support two-factor authentication. The solution was to use a feature from the Oracle ESSO suite called authentication manager. This feature enables you to have multiple authentication methods for the same user which in this case was a smartcard and the Windows password.  Within authentication manager each authenticator can be configured with a security grade so we gave the smartcard a high grade and the Windows password a normal grade. Security grading in Oracle ESSO can be configured on a per application basis so we set the SOX application to require the higher grade smartcard authenticator.

The end result for the user was that they enjoyed automated single sign-on for most of the applications apart from the SOX application. When the SOX application was launched, the user was required by ESSO to present their smartcard before being given access to the application.

Case #2

Another example solving compliance issues was in the case of a large energy company who had a number of core billing applications. New regulations required that users change their password regularly and use a complex password. The problem facing the customer was that the core billing applications did not have any native user password change functionality. The customer could not replace the core applications because of the cost and time required to re-develop them. With a reputation for innovation aurionPro SENA were approached to provide a solution to this problem using Oracle ESSO.

Oracle ESSO has a password expiry feature that can be triggered periodically based on the timestamp of the users’ last password creation therefore our strategy here was to leverage this feature to provide the password change experience. The trigger can launch an application change password event however in this scenario there was no native change password feature that could be launched therefore a “dummy” change password screen was created that could imitate the missing change password function and connect to the application database on behalf of the user.

Oracle ESSO was configured to trigger a change password event every 60 days. After this period if the user launched the application Oracle ESSO would detect the logon screen and invoke the password expiry feature. Oracle ESSO would trigger the “dummy screen,” detect it automatically as the application change password screen and insert a complex password on behalf of the user. After the password event had completed the user was logged on to the application with their new password. All this was provided at a fraction of the cost of re-developing the core applications.

Case #3

Recent popular initiatives such as the BYOD and working from home schemes bring with them many challenges in administering “unmanaged machines” and sometimes “unmanageable users.”

In a recent case, a client had a dispersed community of casual contractors who worked for the business using their own laptops to access applications. To improve security the around password management the security goal was to provision the passwords directly to these contractors. In a previous article we saw how Oracle ESSO has the capability to provision passwords through Provisioning Gateway but the challenge in this scenario was how to get the Oracle ESSO agent to the casual contractor on an unmanaged machine.

The answer was to use another tool in the suite, Oracle ESSO Anywhere. This component can compile the normal Oracle ESSO functionality into a deployment package that can be made available from a website in a similar way to a streamed application. The ESSO Anywhere agent does not actually install into the registry or program files but runs in a folder within the user’s profile therefore no local administrator rights are required for installation. The ESSO Anywhere package can also be configured to stay persistent or disable itself at the end of the user’s session.

In this case the user just needed to be told where the website package was located and download the package. Once the download was complete the agent started automatically and the user was provided with single sign-on to their applications without ever knowing the application passwords.

Finally, as we have seen in these series Oracle ESSO not only has great utilities in its own tool box but also has direct integration with Oracle Privileged Account Manager, Oracle Identity Manager and Oracle Access Manager. Integrated together with these tools provides a complete and complementary platform to address even the most complex identity and access management requirements.

So what next for Oracle ESSO?

“Agentless ESSO available in the cloud” – but that will be a subject for a future Oracle ESSO series!

                                                                                                                              

Wednesday Jun 19, 2013

Identity in an Interconnected World: by Paul Dhanjal (Simeio Solutions)

In today’s interconnected world, we’re being forced to re-think what identity means and to adopt entirely new models for managing it. One thing’s for sure: it’s no longer confined to inside the walls of the enterprise. The lines between internal and external data ownership are blurring. In this, our third post in the series, we’ll delve a bit deeper into what these external identities look like to help us understand the implications for IT.

Let’s start by reviewing the old model. Traditionally, all identity data was internal – each application or service stored and managed all the user information it needed – completely self contained.

But “self-contained” is really just a nice way of saying “silo.” We encounter these identity silos all the time. A large corporation may have dozens, the result of mergers and acquisitions or through the independent initiatives of multiple lines of business. We see it among business partners in value chains – retail partners, ISVs, distributors, etc. We see it in government where various departments – DMV, tax collector, police department, social services, etc. – all separately collect and manage overlapping data on the same set of users.

For companies, these identity silos are costly to build and maintain – the duplication of capabilities and data is highly inefficient, and synchronizing changes across silos is difficult or impossible. They limit visibility and insight. It’s difficult to recognize an individual customer across services, for example – what looks like 10 different users is often the same person.

New cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) models have emerged to address these issues, powered in large part by two key technologies: virtual directories and identity hubs.

Virtual directories, such as Oracle Virtual Directory (OVD), are designed to provide a single, centralized authentication point for multiple services. They unify multiple directories, providing a real-time consolidated view of a person’s identity record regardless of where it’s stored. Because they typically come with adapters for most major directories and databases including those from Oracle, Sun, IBM, Microsoft and Novell, they can be remarkably easy to deploy.

The actual user accounts are still decentralized – created and maintained in the original authentication sources, not in the virtual directory. But to an application or service that’s part of the network, it appears that there’s one centralized source for authentication, removing a ton of complexity from the application, breaking down silos, and allowing you to recognize an individual across all your services.

The identity hub completes the picture. It serves as a broker between the application and the various authoritative sources of identity attributes in both enterprise and federated scenarios. It provides a single authoritative view of user data in what is generally a decentralized environment where user data is scattered among multiple repositories.

More importantly, that view changes depending on who is accessing it. Each application (or business unit, department, division, or customer) has a view that’s limited to only the information that’s deemed appropriate. That’s determined by the owner of the information, which can be another division within the same company, an external partner, or even an individual customer.

 

By combining the identity hub with a governance framework for identity federation via the cloud, you can easily share these views with partners who provide services, while ensuring the appropriate (and only the appropriate) information is securely delivered to each service provider by you, the identity provider. Simeio’s Cloud Services, for example, uses Oracle Access Manager 11g R2 to gather the requested attributes within the identity hub and build an encrypted claim in a form tailored for the consuming service.

Once you or your partners can access this information on demand, it may no longer be necessary to own or even store any portion of a user’s identity – certainly not their password, which would instantly get you out of the business of password management, including support desks and reset mechanisms.
In this new model, identity is no longer something isolated in individual applications and maintained in a single organization. Information becomes fluid, on-demand, real-time, relevant to business units, and – most important – transportable to other businesses or clients, which reduces complexity and speed to market, and opens the door to entirely new business models and revenue streams. We’ll have more on this in our fourth and final chapter.

Tuesday Jun 18, 2013

The Keys to the Password Vault by Matthew Scott (aurionPro SENA)

Super user accounts are, unfortunately, a necessary evil. It’s just a fact of life in the IT industry that someone, somewhere, has to have the ability to make fundamental (and therefore potentially catastrophic!) changes to key systems.

One of my least favourite experiences as a consultant was gaining access to an account though a process that was reminiscent of a spy thriller  – the password was typed onto a card, which was cut in two, with each half stored in a separate safe and each key entrusted to a meticulous security officer. Navigating the procedures to get the halves together in time to be useful was a trial of persuasion and scheduling – I can see why Tom Cruise prefers to abseil in through the roof instead of filling in yet another form!

Compliance officers are increasingly scrutinising privileged accounts and the processes that control access to them – not surprisingly, since surveys have shown that up to a quarter of IT professionals have experienced misuse of such accounts, and almost half of all companies fail to manage these accounts in accordance with the law (http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240111956/One-in-four-IT-security-staff-abuse-admin-rights-survey-shows). The results can be spectacular and sobering – the UBS trader Kweku Adoboli cost his company $2.3 billion after making disastrous trades using a privileged account which he was not authorised to use.

Thankfully, there is now a better way. As we’ve seen in this series, with the ESSO suite the technology exists to manage user passwords without the user having to actually ‘know’ that password. It is possible to extend this functionality to include those previously hard to manage privileged accounts by introducing Oracle Privileged Accounts Manager (OPAM). OPAM acts as a secure password vault for privileged accounts, but unlike other password vaults it can be connected directly to the ESSO Logon Manager agent so that passwords can be requested, obtained and used, all from the user’s desktop.

OPAM is particularly useful for companies with large, decentralised UNIX environments. We are currently engaged with a large financial organisation which has several hundred servers, with various distributions of Linux and UNIX that are managed by different teams. With OPAM, all those precious root accounts have for the first time been corralled together in one location, where they can be released as needed to any authorised user. OPAM is equally adept at managing identities stored in directories, including Windows service accounts within Active Directory.

To calm the fears of any compliance officers who may be reading these words nervously, it is possible to implement workflows to control the request process. This may include approvals from a higher authority, complete with email or mobile notifications to the approver. And of course ESSO and OPAM feature end-to-end audit trails – from request, to check out, to each use of the privileged account, through to check in. Tracking who has being doing what with each account has never been easier.

In addition to managing privileged accounts, the ESSO suite also allows users to distribute their personal accounts in a similar manner. Many of us have experienced the frustration of needing access to a system, a record or an email only to discover that the person with access is on holiday or otherwise unavailable. In extreme cases, this may require that the absent user’s Windows account be reset to allow another user to log on and gain access. ESSO’s Account Delegation allows these key users to pro-actively devolve their account credentials to another user for a set period – no passwords required!

Monday Jun 17, 2013

SIM to OIM Migration: Strategies for Success

In the fall of 2012, Oracle launched a major upgrade to its IDM portfolio: the 11gR2 release.  11gR2 had four major focus areas:

  • More simplified and customizable user experience
  • Support for Cloud, Mobile, and Social applications
  • Extreme scalability
  • Clear upgrade path

For many SUN customers, the upgrade path continues to not be so clear. There are two main strategies for this type of upgrade: the “big bang” complete reimplementation, and the incremental migration/coexistence strategy.

To help better understand your upgrade choices, I am pleased to introduce the first in a series of three whitepapers focused on SUN Identity Manager (SIM) to Oracle Identity Manager (OIM) migration.

In Part 1, Santosh Kumar Singh from SDG will take you through a discussion of the Migration Approach, Methodology, and Tools for you to consider when planning a migration from SIM to OIM.

Read the white paper: http://www.sdgc.com/images/content/whitepapers/sim-to-oim-migration-whitepaper-05.23.13-jm.pdf

Then, in Part 2, he will discuss the proper steps that should be taken during the planning phase to ensure a smooth transition from SIM to OIM.

Finally in Part 3, Santosh will talk about the types and kinds of accelerators that can be used to help move your migration at an accelerated pace.

About the Author:

Santosh Kumar Singh

Identity and Access Management (IAM) Practice Leader

Santosh, in his capacity as SDG Identity and Access Management (IAM) Practice Leader, has direct senior management responsibility for the firm's strategy, planning, competency building, and engagement deliverance for this Practice. He brings over 12+ years of extensive IT, business, and project management and delivery experience, primarily within enterprise directory, single sign-on (SSO) application, and federated identity services, provisioning solutions, role and password management, and security audit and enterprise blueprint. Santosh possesses strong architecture and implementation expertise in all areas within these technologies and has repeatedly lead teams in successfully deploying complex technical solutions.

About SDG:

SDG empowers forward-thinking companies by partnering seamlessly to strategize, create and implement innovative business and technology solutions that help clients manage IT risk and enable growth. SDG combines industry-leading consulting and advisory expertise with specialized implementation services and product portfolio to deliver robust and scalable solutions for compliance, security, risk management and collaboration. (www.sdgc.com)

Are you registered for the "Embracing Mobility in the Workspace" Webinar yet?

Excitement is building around an upcoming webinar hosted by Oracle Partner, AmerIndia on June 27th. Arun Mehta, Sr Consultant with @AmerIndia, and Sid Mishra from Oracle, will be speaking on the subject of Mobility in the Enterprise and the implications of BYOD has on the security postures of the organization and the steps you can take to reduce your risk. 

 

Online space for this Webinar is limited, so we recomend you register ASAP at http://www.amerindia.net/webinars.php to secure your spot for this exciting event on June 27th.

 

For a preview on what you can expect to learn from this webinar, check out the editorial posted here on the OracleIDM blog last week by AmerIndia "Embracing Mobility in the Workspace" by Arun Mehta.  Arun addresses in this editorial, a segment of what he plans to cover in this Webinar. 

 

Look forward to seeing you on the 27th!

Wednesday Jun 12, 2013

Abandoning our "Last Century" IAM Models by Paul Dhanjal (Simeio Solutions)

In our previous blog, we looked at the business drivers behind the growth of cloud-based Identity and Access Management (IAM). These drivers, combined with cultural and technology trends, have made cloud-based IAM more attractive – and, frankly, more necessary – than ever.

Now that business has evolved to offer more and more interconnected and interdependent services to a wider range of users, the old models we had relied on to manage identities no longer apply. Our old identity management and security models designed for internal users simply can’t keep up with the rapidly evolving landscape. The forces that are shaping this new reality are so powerful, their momentum so great, that they now dictate the terms of how identity must be managed within an organization. The balance of power has shifted away from the IT organization and into the hands of end-users. If you are to meet their expectations, if you hope to compete and remain relevant, you must make the transition from build-your-own IAM to out-of-the-box IAM, from customization to configuration.

While there may be a big stick pushing us to make this transition, the carrots are equally compelling: lower costs, faster time to market, enhanced security, greater flexibility and, perhaps most important, the freedom to focus on the value and quality of the services you provide instead of how they’re provided.

There may be no better example of this than bring-your-own-device (BYOD). For years, IT laid down the law to prevent it. Now, fueled by the consumerization of mobile devices and tablets, BYOD has become the rule rather than the exception. It was inevitable. BYOD not only reduces strain on the organization to purchase and support such devices, it also increases employee satisfaction and productivity.

But, of course, the concerns behind the original reticence to allow BYOD remain. In fact, those concerns are magnified now that we’ve moved from uniform desktops tethered to the office to diverse mobile devices that can literally be taken – and lost  – anywhere in the world.

Here’s where out-of-the-box solutions such as Oracle Access Management Suite come to the rescue. They’re designed to enable centralized policy management for securing access to services via mobile applications, going beyond web single sign-on, authentication and authorization. Such solutions are designed from the ground up to handle the added complexity of password management and security in a mobile world, including strong authentication, real-time behavioral profiling, and device fingerprinting. Adaptive products such as those from Oracle provide a multi-faceted approach to mitigate breaches into mobile and Web Applications, all while tying into a closed loop audit process with powerful reporting and notification engines.

Another example is the growing need to manage external identities – those of partners or customers. It may be tempting to use existing capabilities designed for internal identities for this. After all, the same basic services are involved, including handling access requests, granting access, and password management. But the differences are simply too great. There are different business needs, different security concerns, different compliance requirements, even different licensing issues.

Here, too, the new cloud-based IAM models offer us a solution. Their multi-tenancy capabilities mean a single instance of software can serve multiple constituencies discretely by virtually partitioning the management of identities based on any criteria or business need.

As they say on those late night infomercials, that’s not all. The cloud model and its converging standards open the door to entirely new ways of dealing with external identities. For example, products such as Oracle Access Manager allow users to register for a site's services using their social login IDs as an authentication mechanism (using OAuth and OpenID standards). This gets the organization out of the business of managing these external identities altogether, delegating password management, user profile, account settings, etc. to a third party – Google or Facebook, for example. 

If you’re not willing to delegate these tasks, you can still leverage external identities during registration by pulling the user’s basic identity information from a trusted third-party identity provider (IDP). This approach marries the old with the new, maintaining a security perimeter for user access by ensuring audit and closed-loop certification processes are still in place, while reducing the burden on the user who no longer has to provide basic information in order to register.

Delegation is a recurring theme in new IAM models. Cloud-based IAM, for example, makes it easy to push out user administration, certification and operational request management to individual lines of business. This in turn enables you to downsize centralized call support by using delegated authorities within those business units – managers who are closer (both conceptually and physically) to the users who require access. This is done via strong workflow management, which ties into a well-governed and managed role service as well as enterprise roles and processes for mover/joiner/leaver scenarios.

Case in point: the HR systems the US government uses to provision all roles (for resources and entitlements). Users request access directly from their managers. End-dates are used to enforce de-provisioning of all granted access, even during termination. The result is end-to-end lifecycle management with delegated administration, while ensuring compliance with a centralized audit process.

In our next post, we’ll explore what identity looks like in a secure, connected world and what that means for your business.

Tuesday Jun 11, 2013

Achieving "Zero-Touch" Password Management by Steve Knott (aurionPro SENA)

Traditionally when a user is on-boarded into an organisation they are given a desktop password along with a whole host of other passwords to access the required business applications to enable them to do their job. Inevitably there will be numerous associated company information security policies that dictate that passwords should not be written down or shared with colleagues etc.

Trying to remember numerous passwords can be onerous on the end user at the best of times and can lead to a plethora of password sins committed by the end user. Whilst we can deploy some SSO technologies to relieve password fatigue, the on-boarding provisioning process often means that the user needs to know their passwords at some point – or do they?

I recently worked on a project at a leading engineering company who were in the process of deploying a large new ERP system. The end users were highly skilled engineers focusing on cutting edge technology but password security was not high on their list of priorities. Traditionally within the organisation, credentials for new applications were sent by email and sometimes they were communicated over the phone. Inevitably these were written down in text files and diaries or passwords were changed to be the same “pet’s name” type password for multiple applications.

This was a huge concern for the Chief Architect who wanted to remove end user password management and provide “zero touch” credential provisioning for the new ERP applications. He also wanted to satisfy auditing and compliance requirements by enforcing complex passwords whilst preventing unauthorised credential sharing. All this needed to be achieved without inconveniencing the users.

We discussed the tried and tested approach of using of a full blown identity management solution.  However, his response to this was that although wider identity management was on their long term roadmap, he had a hard deadline to deliver the ERP system within three months and with limited resources. With traditional user provisioning ‘out the window’ we had to come up with another approach.  Everyone would be using the new ERP system for their timesheets on the same day, and with any business impact due to unavailability therefore being potentially very significant, the customer couldn’t afford to have issues related to logging in.

One product that they already had licensed was the Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-on (ESSO) suite. Oracle ESSO is a well- known established product which provides single sign to any application at the desktop. Not so well known are the additional tools provided within the suite. One of these additional tools is Oracle ESSO Provisioning Gateway. Provisioning Gateway is a web based application that complements the other tools in the suite by enabling the provisioning of application credentials directly to the SSO agent without user interaction.

The Provisioning Gateway server exposes a web service interface that allows it to receive instructions submitted by any other provisioning server. Although Provisioning Gateway is more commonly deployed connected to an identity management system it does have command line interface (CLI) utilities supplied with the software. These utilities allow for scripted interactions with the Provision Gateway server including batch operations.

For this customer it was possible to export the user credential data out of the ERP system into a text-file format.  Then, armed only with the tools provided within the Oracle ESSO suite it was possible to script the provisioning of these user credentials in batches of 500-1000 to the Provisioning Gateway server. The server provisioned the credentials to the ESSO repository and the credentials were synchronised to the desktop SSO agent at user logon.

So far, so good.  At this stage, the users were still unaware that anything had happened.  The new ERP system wasn’t live yet, but in anticipation of its general release we now had each individual’s username and password ready to go in their SSO credential store – ready for first login.

For security reasons, the ERP system was configured to require a password change at first logon. Therefore, when the user launched the application for the first time on its launch date an application change password event was triggered. The Oracle ESSO agent was configured to recognise and respond to this change password event, automatically generating and inserting a new password leaving the user logged on with a new complex password. The end user did not know their password at any point of the on-boarding process or for subsequent logons.  Therefore the opportunity of sharing their logon details with colleagues was eliminated.  Furthermore, issues with the distribution of new passwords was avoided altogether.

The aurionPro SENA fast rollout template for Oracle ESSO enabled this customer to hit the implementation deadline of the ERP project and also address the security requirements of the organisation. ESSO Provisioning Gateway also has a management interface and this customer exploited this feature to allow the helpdesk team to apply the zero touch methodology to other applications.

As we discussed in the first blog (Putting the EASY into SSO) - Oracle ESSO provides more than just single sign-on to desktop applications.  Its use for zero-touch provisioning shows its versatility and that it can form a core part of an integrated identity and access management framework.  It’s not just a tactical tool for a single issue.  Stay tuned for next week’s blog in this series where we’ll be investigating the capabilities of Oracle ESSO still further.

Monday Jun 10, 2013

Embracing Mobility in the Workspace: Oracle API Gateway

Embracing Mobility in the Workspace using Oracle API Gateway

 

 

“In 2013, mobile devices will pass PCs to be most common Web access tools. By 2015, over 80% of handsets in mature markets will be smart phones.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       -Gartner Research

 

 

Across the globe, corporations are embracing the influx of mobility and the last five years have seen an expanding role of mobility in the workspace. Enterprises everywhere are coming up with innovative initiatives to support the mobility needs of personnel working for them. In addition, a variety of mobile applications and services are being offered to the workforce to make them more effective and efficient at work. Such applications and services unify different user populations within the organization, including internal workforce, partners, customers, and consumers, with the internal and external resources of the organization.

 

 

There are numerous reasons why enterprises are embracing mobility in the workspace and the chart below highlights the most important ones:

 

 

 

The devices used by the user populations are usually diverse in nature and leads to a fragmented and a disconnected landscape. As a result, IT architects and product managers of organizations are compelled to develop applications that can be ported to mobile devices of users. However, the deployed in-house applications aren’t capable of averting increasingly sophisticated identity thefts and data breaches of today.  Development and utilization of secured mobile applications is often the primary concern that bothers infrastructure & solution architects today.

 

Forrester Consulting commissioned a study on behalf of Cisco Systems in 2012 to gather information on top security concerns and compatibility issues that concern senior-level decision-makers. The chart below illustrates the results.

 

 

 

There are a lot of aspects that should be managed to effectively support mobile devices. They are:

 

·         Password and User management – Management of multiple passwords and user identities for each application

 

·         Device Management – Management of authentication and authorization of devices allowing users to access company resources securely. A high mobile device turnover by user population calls for re-registration of new devices and blacklisting/wiping-out of corporate information from older devices. Device management automates such processes in a structured manner

 

·         Application Access Management – Management of role-based access that is usually absent or is being managed locally in the application leading to unauthorized access to applications. And the local role management leads to redundant and expensive management of access to applications via roles

 

·         API Management – Management of central publishing, promoting, and monitoring of exposed APIs within a secure and scalable environment that is often missing. Many applications todays exposes web services which may not consumed by mobile devices as efficiently as possible.

 

Following section describes how the above-mentioned aspects are managed and how challenges and issues related to adoption of mobile devices are addressed by using Oracle API Gateway and a variety of other components of Oracle Access management stack.

 

·         User Management – The mentioned aspects and challenges are addressed by having a User Provisioning tool like Oracle Identity Manager (OIM). OIM streamlines user provisioning and de-provisioning, and other identity based lifecycle events in the organization. Along with that, users are also provisioned access to various target systems. Once the step of access provisioning is completed, Oracle Access Management (OAM) steps in for users who wish to access the target system by using single sign-on. The authentication can be done by binding to LDAP, but OAM brings additional advantages as it allows various policies and procedures to be defined and implemented for the users accessing target systems within the enterprise. Furthermore, access request to all resources on mobile devices are intercepted by Oracle API Gateway or OAG (deployed in DMZ) in order to enforce the policies that define the steps involved.  OAG gathers the necessary user, application, device, and network context data to enable authentication decisions and validates the gathered data using the Access Management tool as per the policies laid down.

 

However, this approach only performs user authentication and relies on Access Management tool to perform coarse grain authorization, and may not be sufficient for the detailed authorization rules defined within the application itself.

 

Please refer to the figure below for a better understanding.

 

 

 

·         Device Management – Mobile devices used by users are registered through Identity Manager as an asset and this information is provisioned to an LDAP, DB device, or an App registry. Also, Oracle API Gateway is used to perform device authentication by using the custom authentication logic it comes with. Once the device is authenticated, a device token is generated, and the same is used by mobile devices in subsequent interactions in order to fetch the desired information from the applications. This is a simple approach and can be employed to achieve the desired results in small work environments where functionalities like device profiling, blacklisting and whitelisting, knowledge based authentication, and device control is of less importance.

 

For work environments that are larger and more complex, and where the previously mentioned functionalities are important, Access Management component can be extended to include and deploy Oracle Adaptive Access Manager (OAAM) along with Mobile and Social Services components. By doing this, the desired Device Management functionality is implemented.

 

In other scenarios, device registration can also be delegated to OAAM components rather than registering it through Oracle Identity Manager against the user record. Here, mobile and social services components play a crucial role of mediating security tokens for mobile devices to access enterprise resources and cloud based applications.

 

Please refer to the figure below for a better understanding.

 

 

·         Application Access Management – The above two architectures explain how Oracle API Gateway (OAG) manages and performs user and device authentication. Oracle API gateway is Policy enforcement point for mobile devices in a similar way Web-Gates are policy enforcement for Oracle Access Management. However, the fine-grained authorization can’t be overlooked.

 

Classical approach of programming included embedding the authorization logic within the application itself, making the management and extension of application security cumbersome. And it can lead to failed audit and compliance objective requirements of certifying who has what access and at what level. This may not be acceptable in today’s world of increased scrutiny of applications and their access.

 

Fortunately, Oracle Entitlement Server (OES) comes to rescue and serves as a central policy decision/definition point where all applications can externalize authorization rules. When used with OAG, the authorization policies set by OES are enforced. In addition, the combo can also redact the data elements based on various roles of users accessing applications through mobile devices.

 

The figure below will be able to help you understand the concepts better.

 

 

 

·         API Management – Enterprises today have applications that expose web services primarily meant for either intranet use or exchanging information with business-partner applications. That paradigm has taken a major shift with the proliferation in on-boarding of mobile devices and the need to access the respective applications on these devices. Mobile devices may not be able to consume the exposed web-services as efficiently and thus, require enterprises to adopt strategies to either re-write or extend those web-services for such use-cases, or rely on Oracle API Gateway (OAG) features and functionalities.

 

OAG provides functionalities that shield these efforts and perform content transformation on the fly in order to make it adaptable for mobile device use. Oracle API Gateway provides controlled connection between APIs and applications that exposes them. OAG also allows access related metrics for any APIs managed by it. In a well laid-out architecture and implementation of OAG, enterprises can expose these services confidently with additional benefits such as Threat protection and XML Acceleration while having the same performance levels, and exceptional reporting and analytics capabilities across all services.

 

In all, mobile devices have evolved to better suit the needs of consumers but at the same time have traded of their security to ensure usability. These trade-offs increasingly contribute to security risks when such devices connect to the enterprise resources.

 

The security risks should be addressed in an effective manner to protect precious company resources and comply with increasingly strict regulations. Mobile Access management solution using Oracle API Gateway technology unifies enterprise resources and cloud-based resources across network boundaries to mobile devices. This solution assures enhanced security, regulatory compliance, improved governance, and increased productivity. 

 

Webinar

 

For more information on registration on our upcoming joint webinar with guest presenters Arun Mehta from AmerIndia, and Sid Mishra from Oracle Corporation, please go to  http://www.amerindia.net/webinars.php. Here you will be able to pre-register for this event, where we will discuss the changing face of mobile devices in today’s work environment and the risks associated with this upcoming trend. In addition, solutions available to address such risks will be described, while also highlighting solutions specific to different types of organization.

 

Author

 

 

Arun Mehta

Mobile Security Practice Leader

AmerIndia Technologies Inc.

 

Arun Mehta is Principal Solution Architect in Mobile Security, Security Solutions practice at AmerIndia Technologies Inc. In this role, Arun leads a team of specialist technical consultants and architects across North America focusing on Oracle's Security and Identity Management technology. Arun has been in the field of Security for over a decade and has experience across large and complex Identity Management projects in the North America region covering multiple industry verticals. More recently, he has been engaged on a number of projects including enterprise security platforms and mobile access management to help customers enable digital and business transformation initiatives.

  

 

 

AmerIndia Technologies Inc.

AmerIndia Technology Inc. is a full-service information security consulting firm and an Oracle Gold Partner. We specialize in security assessments, software security, mobile security, identity and access management, cloud identity management, API management, certification, regulatory compliance, and vulnerability management. AmerIndia serves clients throughout the United States.

 

Our expertise and client base spans all major verticals. Customers include Fortune 5000 companies in the financial, technology, healthcare, insurance, education and manufacturing sectors. Because of our wide range of experience and subject matter knowledge, major consulting firms also rely on AmerIndia as a trusted partner.

For more information, visit our website: www.amerindia.net

 

 

Wednesday Jun 05, 2013

The Cloud-based IAM Revolution by Paul Dhanjal (Simeio Blog Series - Ch1)

One of the most significant advancements in IT in the last few years has been the shift to cloud-based Identity and Access Management (IAM). While the word “revolution” is all-too-often used in IT, arguably it’s the right word to describe the transformation that the cloud brings to identity.

Over the next four weeks, we’ll delve into the details of this revolution, including a look at its impact on how you’ll do business, why change is needed, and what you’ll need to know to make the transition. Let’s get started by looking at the business drivers.

In just a few short years, cloud-based IAM has matured from simple portals offering single sign-on for a handful of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications to sophisticated, comprehensive solutions that integrate seamlessly with virtually any directory service and application – on-premise, legacy or SaaS. They provide automated workflows for user access request submission and review, provisioning and attestation. They enable federation. And they simplify compliance with regulatory mandates.

The cloud model itself comes in a variety of flavors that provide enough flexibility to meet almost any organization’s needs, from public clouds that dramatically lower TCO through multi-tenancy to private clouds that can meet even the most stringent security and control requirements.

The drivers behind this revolution will be familiar to any CXO.

First, CXOs are facing increased pressure to reduce cost and complexity. They’re expected to follow the popular business school advice to “stick to the knitting”: focus exclusively on the core business and jettison everything else. IAM is squarely in the cross hairs, a tempting target for organizations looking to outsource services that don’t offer a clear and direct competitive advantage.

At the same time, IT is now expected to be a business enabler – to help grow the business, not just support it. This requires IT to be more flexible and nimble to meet ever-changing business demands, including the ability to quickly and easily provide employees, partners and customers with secure and role-appropriate access to a rapidly growing and evolving set of information, applications and other online resources.

User expectations, too, are rising rapidly. As users become accustomed to using more and more services online from filing their taxes to sharing their photos, they now expect the convenience of moving seamlessly between multiple services using a single set of credentials – their Facebook or Google accounts, for example.

Add to the mix the growing security, compliance and regulatory mandates tied to identity, and the challenge can seem insurmountable.

Thankfully, the cloud has offered us a clear path forward. The benefits are just as clear.

First, the cloud delivers on the promise of outsourcing: reducing capital strain and freeing the business to focus on its core competencies. It eliminates the large investment required to stand up an IAM infrastructure: the hardware costs, in many cases the software licenses, and all the configurations and integrations in between. It eliminates ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs, too.

Many cloud-based IAM solutions offer on-demand services with pay-as-you-go pricing – you get and pay for the capability when and only when you need it. They also significantly reduce operational costs so that companies have the benefit of automated IAM without the costs of implementing and maintaining an in-house IAM infrastructure.

In addition to the rise of secure and reliable ISO 27001 compliant data centers and complete, enterprise-ready solutions such as Oracle Cloud Computing, standards-based protocols have dramatically reduced the risk of making the leap to cloud-based IAM. As the saying goes, “the nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” While many of the first cloud-based IAM solutions seemed to add more to the list, today we’re seeing a real convergence toward a small set of widely adopted standards that have made implementation and integration remarkably easy, including REST-based APIs, OAuth, SAML and OpenID Connect.

While some dive in headlong, many dip their toe in the water with quick-win implementations – to address rising costs for password management by offering self-service, for example – and then progress through provisioning into a handful of core identity systems, synchronization of passwords between authoritative system, etc. This approach often allows the organization time to see that identity can be leveraged as a service for other business needs.

A large financial institution, for example, mandated that all its lines of business use a centralized in-house identity governance solution, then charged each LOB to use the service. This could be done only with a service approach to identity, which became possible once the beachhead of self-service password management had been established.

In our next post, we’ll explore the reasons why organizations must make the transition to new, cloud-based IAM models if they hope to compete in a world where business has moved online. For more information on the services and offerings at Simeio Solutions, you can learn more by going to www.simeiosolutions.com

 

Tuesday Jun 04, 2013

Putting the EASY into ESSO! by Matthew Scott (aurionPro SENA Blog Series - Ch1)

Enterprise Single Sign-On occupies an unusual position in the field of IAM. In automating the sign-on of users to their applications, it is somewhat uniquely, a client-side application. For some of our customers, the role of enterprise SSO in an IAM programme isn’t entirely clear. I’ve spoken with many security architects who view its use as somehow tantamount to cheating. Surely, they assert, if we fully integrate systems at the back-end then the need for a client component doing sign-on becomes unnecessary. Architecturally this may be true. But the realities are that users have issues with passwords right now. Enterprise single sign-on addresses problems immediately. However, it’s also much more than just a tool that signs the user on to anything from their desktop. It is a tool that can be used to solve related business problems and technical challenges just as well as it can deliver users from their credential nightmares.

In this series of four articles, we will explore how enterprise SSO can be used to deliver these additional benefits. We will cover zero touch credential provisioning, making enterprise single sign-on an integrated part of an IAM programme and the management of delegated accounts. First, however, we’ll start with an easy one… making everyone happy all at the same time!

Capturing business requirements for identity and access management projects can be an art. There are so many interested parties – technical, legal, HR, end-users, application owners to name but a few – that it’s rare to reach a speedy consensus. I was in one such meeting with a customer a while back who were trying to explore what the success criteria would be for their enterprise single sign-on initiative. Relatively straightforward, you’d think, but after five hours the customer was still going round in circles! It wasn’t until the project sponsor finally arrived at the meeting and spoke about his vision that sanity was restored. His single request? His single measure? “Make it easy for my users!” That’s all he wanted. If other benefits accrued, that was a bonus.

Oracle’s Enterprise Single Sign-non Suite Plus (Oracle ESSO) is designed to do precisely what the project sponsor wanted. It includes a number of technologies designed to relieve the pain of passwords, by reducing the number of forgotten or incorrect credentials that a user has, whilst simultaneously making it easier to provide those same credentials to users without compromising security. What’s more, these benefits can be obtained surprisingly quickly – Oracle ESSO has a very light footprint and a flexible framework approach to managing credentials for almost any application. Web, Windows, Cloud or mainframe, passwords can quickly be eliminated as a source of pain for users and IT staff alike.

Oracle ESSO takes the management of credentials away from users. It stores passwords in a secure manner so that the user cannot forget it. It manages the password lifecycle, securely updating credentials when they expire. And it streamlines the user experience – application logon is handled automatically, so the user can get to work immediately without having to fumble over the username and password.

Of course, Oracle ESSO also allows the organisation to achieve lots of other benefits if it’s implemented correctly – reduced number of calls to helpdesk, increased productivity through faster password resets and so on. But fundamentally, as a user-facing tool it has to be one that’ll gain rapid acceptance for its deployment to be heralded as a success. The additional benefits won’t appear if the users don’t adopt the new tools they’re given.

aurionPro SENA has considerable experience with the Oracle ESSO suite. In fact, we’ve got the deployment of Oracle ESSO down to a fine art. Referring back to our original customer above – speed of deployment was important. “Proof of concept in days, pilot in weeks, deployment in two months” was the mantra. All with no significant operational impact on either end-users or IT personnel. We helped the customer achieve these goals. Deploying Oracle ESSO requires a delicate balance of technical knowledge, light-touch project management and extremely well-managed engagement with the end-user community. The last element is the most important. Involving key users as early as possible when their applications are being ‘profiled’ for single sign-on helps to ensure that they buy in to the end goal. They understand how Oracle ESSO will enhance the way that they work and are keen to share this with other users. If done right, a cascade of anticipation can ripple through the user community so that, rather than fearing change as can often happen with IT projects, the users are willing the change to arrive sooner! The use of appropriate briefing tools, promotion of the new system and similar techniques can further enhance the effectiveness of the final Oracle ESSO rollout.

So, Oracle ESSO makes it easy for end-users. That’s great, that’s exactly what our customer wanted, and it’s what any user-facing application should strive to do. Deploying Oracle ESSO, when managed properly, is one of those very unusual IT projects, though. Not only does it make things easier for end-users, it also makes things easier for IT support teams, helpdesk operators, auditors and a whole range of teams within the organisation. So it’s win-win all round.

But this is just the starting point. Oracle ESSO acts as a great launch pad for customers looking to further streamline credential management, giving users a better experience whilst also improving security and providing previously unavailable audit data. Stay tuned as we demonstrate how you can unlock the potential of Oracle ESSO.

 

Monday Jun 03, 2013

A Summary of Identity Management R2 PS1

If you have downloaded Identity Management R2 PS1 and are looking for a good summary of capabilities, the presentation below by Marc Boroditsky, Vice President of Product Management, provides a good preview.

For more information on getting started with Identity Management R2 PS1 click here for the documentation. You can learn more about Identity Management R2 PS1 from these resources:

About

Oracle Identity Management is a complete and integrated next-generation identity management platform that provides breakthrough scalability; enables organizations to achieve rapid compliance with regulatory mandates; secures sensitive applications and data regardless of whether they are hosted on-premise or in a cloud; and reduces operational costs. Oracle Identity Management enables secure user access to resources anytime on any device.

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