Monday Oct 10, 2011

Identity Management Seminar - Coming to a City Near You

Safeguarding a business has never been more challenging. The number of security breaches has increased significantly around the world. In addition, regulatory requirements have become more demanding. Businesses are under growing pressure to not only enforce granular access privileges and monitor access certifications, but also to demonstrate that their controls can detect and prevent security policy violations, which can be an expensive and time-consuming task.

At Oracle, our industry leading Identity Management solutions offer a unique approach called "Entitlement-Driven" Identity Management.  Just like an atom is the fundamental element of all matter, we believe that entitlements are the fundamental elements of security. Since entitlements are at the core of all security requirements, enterprises should really think about enforcing security on the basis of entitlements rather than just relying on user identities.  An entitlement-driven approach to identity management ensures that security policies can be consistently applied, quickly deployed, and easily managed to help reduce risk, reduce costs, provide transparency, and satisfy compliance mandates.

Want to learn all about identity management and the benefits of an entitlement-based approach?  Oracle Identity Management is coming to a city near you with half-day seminars that give you an opportunity to experience learning with fun.  Here is the list of cities and dates. Stay tuned to this page as we update this with more venues in the near future. Register today and don't miss the opportunity to learn how you can benefit with Oracle Identity Management.

Tuesday Aug 30, 2011

OOW Session - Achieving Context Aware Security

The DNA of Identity management has been Authentication, Authorization, Administration and Audit – but to really take a risk based approach, address the more complex regulatory pressure and still provide ROI identity management has to become more context aware, provide better analytics and provide increased control. You don't want to miss Vadim Lander - Chief Identity Architect discuss the next step in the evolution of identity management on Wednesday October 5th at 4:45 in Moscone West.

Who you are depends on the context of your activity. In the enterprise we all wear many hats and do many jobs. This makes it difficult to detect when user behavior is out of the ordinary. An integrated context aware approach is the best solution to balance the need for regulatory compliance and reduce risk.

To become risk aware, Identity Management has to become more context aware and integrated. The latency between Identity pillars creates risk. An integrated platform approach helps restore control by providing context. Join us for this session to understand how Oracle is driving innovation and creating the next generation of Identity Management solutions.

For a complete schedule of Identity Management session see the Identity Management Focus On. 

Monday Aug 01, 2011

Externalizing Fine-grained Authorization from Applications

In a recent article published by Sys-Con, Marc Chanliau from Oracle highlighted the mechanics and benefits of externalizing fine-grained authorization policies from applications.

While URL-based coarse-grained authorization can be enforced using conventional web access management solutions, fine-grained authorization decisions are typically enforced at application run-time. For instance, if access to confidential data (such as user’s Social Security Number) is granted to a user only if he meets certain conditions, then those checks are typically performed at run-time. This led to complexities with building security for applications. It also led to a joint evolution of security policies with application logic which negatively impacted developer productivity. In this article, Marc Chanliau explores the need to externalize authorization from applications and then delves into the mechanics of externalizing authorization policies using Entitlement Servers.

Here’s a link to the complete article.

If you’d like to learn more about externalizing authorization from applications, check out the replay of our recent webcast on Oracle Entitlements Server 11g. We also have two additional webcasts coming up which explore the declarative security paradigm and its business benefits.

· Webcast: Demystifying Declarative Security

· Webcast: Declarative Security for Mobile Apps 

Thursday Jul 28, 2011

Oracle Entitlements Server (OES) 11g Webcast Q&A

We recently announced Oracle Entitlements Server (OES) 11g. OES externalizes authorization policies from applications eliminating the complexity of building authorization inside applications. By decoupling authorization policy evolution from the application lifecycle, OES does for authorization what Single Sign-On did for authentication.

In our recent July 14 webcast on OES 11g, we dug deeper into some of the new capabilities and design themes in OES 11g. Thanks to everyone who joined our webcast. We have captured answers to the questions asked for your reference.

What is new in OES 11g?

OES 11g introduces several breakthroughs in externalized authorization management. 1) Real-time External Authorization ensures minimal latencies in mission-critical deployments for applications making a massive number of authorization checks 2) Comprehensive Standards Support for a broad spectrum of authorization standards including XACML, NIST RBAC, Enterprise RBAC, ABAC, JAAS and OpenAZ. This gives customers plenty of choices, and flexibility of deployment. 3) Rapid Application Integration accelerates integration with a broad spectrum of application platforms.

Does OES 11g integrate with non-Oracle systems?

Yes. OES integrates with a large number of heterogeneous (non-Oracle) platforms including various custom and 3rd party applications, application servers, databases, directory servers, content management systems, SOA and cloud environments, web portals, and XML gateways, development platforms and programming languages.

What’s the difference between OES 11g and Oracle Platform Security Services (OPSS)?

OPSS is the underlying security foundation for Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Fusion Applications. It is a security framework that provides a broad set of security services for applications - anything from authentication, audit, secure credential storage, identity profile, and authorization among others. OES is the authorization engine sitting underneath OPSS.

OAM and OES both can handle authorization. What else can OES offer when compared to OAM authorization?

OAM is primarily an authentication and Single Sign-On solution. While it does have coarse grained authorization capabilities, you will need a fine grained authorization solution like OES for page/portal customization or page entity level security checks (button enable/disable, text box graying out), transactional checks, checks at method or function level, and for data redaction.

Does OES 11g integrate with Microsoft Active Directory?

Sure. OES can work with external user/group/role/attribute repositories. As a best practice we recommend that you leverage your existing identity stores like AD.

Does OES 11g integrate with other Oracle Identity Management products like Oracle Access Manager (OAM) and Oracle Adaptive Access Manager (OAAM)?

OES integrates with other Identity and Access Management solutions. It can integrate well with an SSO solution like OAM or an adaptive authentication solution like OAAM. Integration with OES delivers fine grained authorization capabilities such as page/portal personalization, function/module level checks, attribute based checks, data redaction etc. OES integrates with other components of the Oracle Identity Management stack as well.

Do you recommend performing data redaction at the database rather than at the UI or business logic layer?

Nearly all large deployments have to make a decision on this at some time. While some scenarios may force you to make the authorization decision at Data Source (DB level), we tend to recommend redaction at a data service layer (for example at the hibernate layer). In general, this is a very subjective decision. OES 11g provides various architecture choices. Decisions vary on a case by case basis.

With 11g the OES PEP/PDP is now integrated into the WLS OPSS SM. When using OES Administration Server (PDP) in conjunction with WLS 11g, do you have to license the integrated PEP/PDP on WLS or is its usage covered by the WLS licensing?

OES is licensed separately.

How does OES compare to LDAP or Tivoli security application?

LDAP by itself is just a repository and does not provide any policy enforcement capabilities.

Where are the roles stored?

In OES Roles are policy based. At a high level, the role policies can be based on users or groups or user attributes where these entities can be managed in any standard user repositories (ex: AD).

How is OES integrated with Oracle ADF? Can I authorize ADF component seamlessly, transparently (ADF developer do not execute OES) and how?

Absolutely. The OES admin console itself is based on OES. Since OES can plug in under the OPSS (Oracle Platform Security Services) layer, all Oracle FMW and Applications (that are based on OPSS) automatically leverage the OES authorization engine.

Does OES support Single Sign On?

OES is not a WebSSO product, it does fine grained authorization. That said, it works with and integrates with any customer's single sign-on solution to take advantage of the user context that gets established and any other information the SSO product provides that you want to leverage in your authorization policies. Oracle Access Manager (our WebSSO product) internally leverages an embedded version of OES to do URL level (coarse grained) authorization.

Do you need the Enterprise Gateway to perform this sort of context authorization or can this be performed by WLS/OPSS, etc?

The Oracle Enterprise Gateway makes it extremely easy to integrate with web services as it is natively integrated with OES - this requires no changes to the application code. A similar integration can be done with Oracle Web Services Manager with some customization.

Does OES integrate with Layer 7 gateways?

Yes, OES can integrate with Layer 7 gateways

Does OES provide database level integration with IBM DB2?

You can definitely use OES for data security with DB2 through business tier integration.

Can OES integrated with non-Java applications (C/C++)?

OES provides Web Service and RMI interfaces that can be of help in these cases. We have done a lot of work with financial services companies that we will be happy to discuss offline.

Can authorization policies be stored in an Oracle database?

Authorization policies can be stored in Oracle RDBMS. The user and groups can be retained in their existing enterprise stores - AD/LDAP/RDBMS

Do you provide or recommend tools to extract security rules from home-grown code so they can be externalized?

We have not come across any tools that do rules redaction from code very effectively.

Are there any IDEs (like Eclipse) that support application owners in development for developers and architects?

There are probably two parts to this question, the OES libraries can be used with any IDE. Our own JDeveloper IDE provides security wizards that help developers, provides declarative support, and helps automate the development lifecycle - this is planned to be certified with OES 11g later this year. We also have plans to extend this for 3rd party IDE's

How do you integrate OES with Oracle Identity Manager (OIM) and Oracle Identity Analytics (OIA)?

OIM provisions the users and group membership (enterprise roles) in the ID store(s) that OES can then leverage in authorization decisions/policies. OIM may also control certain user attributes that may be used in your authorization policies. (OIM uses an embedded version of OES for defining delegated admin policies). OIA can then be used for recertification / attestation of the role memberships and relevant attributes, Separation of Duties (SoD) policies etc

Check out the webcast replay to learn more about OES 11g.

Sunday Jul 24, 2011

The Business Case For Entitlements Server

Much of our content today discusses how to apply an entitlements server to provide external authorization, but less time has been spent discussing the business case for fine-grained entitlements. As we wrap up a week of sales training, I want to spend some time summarizing some of the data-points on how organizations rationalize the benefits of entitlements servers. The topic of role-based access has a rich academic history since role-based access control draws from a diverse range of subjects.

The demand for entitlements servers has increased drastically in the past few years as application and data security moved into the foreground. Despite the large number of “off the shelf” solutions used in IT, the majority of mission critical “line of business” applications are home grown. Financial services companies are perhaps the most mature users of fine-grained authorization because of the regulatory pressure and intrinsic monetary value of the data. In the past few years, demand has picked up in many verticals from healthcare to manufacturing. In cases where business processes are being outsourced, providing policy based control over data and transactions is essential. 

A few years ago, the banking world was rocked by the scandal of a rouge trader who utilized his knowledge of gaps in control procedures to create a $7.1B loss for a major bank. While this case is certainly sensational, this type of insider fraud happens more often than we think. Some sources suggest more than 46% of fraud is caused by insiders. Separate of looking for an economic ROI for deploying an entitlements server, the most compelling reason is the security of the business itself. When a “line of business” application like a trading system or a clinical trials application gets compromised, the impact is always financially disastrous.

Today most of the organizations deploying an entitlements server solution have well defined requirements to separate access due to internal or external regulatory guidelines. The regulatory pressure alone provides the business case. In most of the cases, the customer's existing homegrown approach became too difficult to maintain and scale as security requirements changed. Looking across deployments, two economic value propositions are found in all cases:

  • Time to value: Re-tooling applications to address security changes can take many months. Many organizations that deployed an entitlements server have reduced this time to weeks. This provides significant time to value when the organization is trying to address an audit finding or closing a security risk gap.
  • Reduced development cost: Most organizations save 10's of thousands of dollars on a per application basis after deploying an entitlements server because so much time was spent hard coding security into the application. In one anecdotal case a company saved over $265K annually over 7 applications by externalizing security. Thanks to Andy Vallila for sharing this particular example.

We are still in the early adoption phase of entitlements servers. The customers who adopt have the most urgent security need. As we survey and summarize the results of the early adopters, we will gain better ROI data. For more background on entitlements servers and how to apply them the following resources may be helpful:


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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