Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Identity and Access Management Key to Security Best Practices in Changing Business Landscape

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on the role of identity and IT access management in the dynamic enterprise.

Listen to the podcast. Download the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Learn more. Sponsor: Hewlett-Packard.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect. Today, a sponsored podcast discussion on the role of identity and access management (IAM), and its impact on security and risk reduction.

We live in an age when any of us, on a typical day, has access to hundreds of applications, and perhaps we have improper access to some of those applications or data inside of our companies. We may not even know it. What's worse, our IT department might not know it.

Managing who gets access to which resources for how long -- and under what circumstances -- has become a huge and thorny problem. The stakes are too high. Improper and overextended access to sensitive data and powerful applications can cause significant risk and even damage or loss.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Oracle have been teaming up to improve the solutions around IAM. Through products and services, a series of best practices and preventative measures has been established. To learn more about managing risk around IAM, we will be talking with executives from both HP and Oracle.

Here with us today, we are joined by Dan Rueckert. He is the worldwide practice director for security and risk management for HP’s Consulting and Integration (C&I) group. Welcome, Dan.

Dan Rueckert: Thanks, Dana, glad to be here.

Gardner: We are also joined by Archie Reed, distinguished technologist in HP’s security office in the Enterprise Storage and Server Group. Welcome, Archie.

Archie Reed: Hi, Dana.

Gardner: And we’re also joined by Mark Tice, vice president of identity management at Oracle. Thanks for joining, Mark.

Mark Tice: Hi, Dana, thank you very much.

Gardner: Now, let’s look at this historically -- and I guess I’ll take this to Dan Rueckert. How have things changed around IAM and general risk and security around access to assets and resources in the past couple of years? Is this another instance of data explosion, or are there other implications for organizations to consider?

Rueckert: Thanks, Dana. When we look at IAM, we are really saying that the speed of business is increasing, and with that the rate of change of organizations to support their business. You see it everyday in mergers and acquisitions that are going on right now. As a result of that, you see consolidation.

All these different factors are going on. We are also driving regulations and compliance to those regulations on an ongoing basis. When you start to go with these regulations, the ability to have people access their data, or have access to the tools, applications, and data that they need at the right time is key.

It’s the speed, and it’s continuing to go on as we see the convergence of both the traditional IT systems or applications, and then the merger with operational technology, as we know it, from real-time systems, or near real-time systems.

Gardner: Archie Reed, how do you see this impacting the business climate? How important is this for companies in terms of their exposure?

Reed: This is a critical area that folks have to look at. There's a difference that we’re seeing when we go out and talk to customers, and they’re saying that security is a big concern. It’s a big issue for them. It’s not simple and it’s often not cost-effective, or the return on investment (ROI) is difficult to define.

When you talk about security being a big concern, there is a disconnect between it being a priority, or a high priority, for a lot of companies. It’s dependent on the specific company to have security high on the priority list. It’s often placed low because of that ROI challenge.

The reality in the market is that many things impact that security posture, internally, every time a new system is installed, any product or service defined, or even when a new employee joins. Externally, we're impacted by new regulations, new partnerships, new business ventures, whatever form they may take. All those things can impact our ability, or our security posture.

Security is much like business. That is, it’s impacted by many, many factors, and the problem today is trying to manage that situation. When we get down to tools and requirements around such things as identity management, we are dealing with people who have access to systems. The criticality there is that there have been so many public breaches that we have become aware of recently that security again is a high concern.

People are not necessarily taking it into their priority list as being critical, but tools such as identity management and general system management can help you to mitigate the risks. If we start to talk about risk analysis, and ROI being one and the same discussions, then we may be able to help companies move forward and get to the right position.

Gardner: Clearly, this is not something that product alone can tackle, nor services alone either. So, it's certainly makes sense that Oracle and HP are teaming up with a solutions approach to this. What is the overall solution approach, is this 60 percent behavior, 40 percent product? Dan, give us a sense of how this gets solved, when it comes to products and/or services?

Rueckert: Dana, it's definitely people, process, and technology coming together. In some cases, it’s situational, as far as working with customers that have legacy systems, or more modern systems. That starts to dictate how much of that process, how much of that consulting they need, or how much technology?

When we talk about the HP-Oracle relationship, it’s about having that strong foundation as far as IAM, but also the ability to open up to the other areas that it's tied into, in this case enterprise architecture, the middleware pieces that we want for databases, and other applications that they have.

You start to put that thread with IAM, combined with an infrastructure and that opens this up as a whole, which is key. And, enablement, as far as depending on the size and complexity or localization or globalization, tends to play into those attributes, as far as people process and technology.

Gardner: And this also relates to the Secure Advantage Program, as well as the HP Adaptive Infrastructure, can you paint a picture for us as to how those relate? I guess we can go to Archie Reed on this.

Reed: The first thing would be to understand what Secure Advantage is. Fundamentally it’s an evolution of HP’s Security Strategy. One thing folks may not know is that HP has been in the security business for over 30 years across most industries and the geographies.

Secure Advantage is effectively the embodiment of all of HP security prowess or expertise, as services, products, and solutions, and as well as partners that we can offer organization to help them deal with security in business issues that we've been alluding to through this discussion.

The challenge that HP sees is that most folks worldwide may have developed a relationship with HP, perhaps for a server or a desktop businesses or a software and printing businesses. Many are unaware how wide and how deep HP's security expertise is, across the entire business spectrum.

HP has been developing this Secure Advantage Program over the last few years to essentially allow people to take a broader look at our security portfolio. I'll give you a specific example. I said we have been in the business for over 30 years now, and one thing that many folks aren't aware of is that HP has been engaged at the core of all the ATM networks around the world.

In fact, we’re directly involved in over 70 percent of ATM transactions. So, when you walk up to a bank, you put in your debit card or your credit card, you ask for $100 or 100 Euros, whatever it maybe anywhere around the world. Behind the scenes, HP technology, policies, and process have been worked on to ensure that the data is encrypted, that all of the banks and ATM network folks can talk to each other without necessarily knowing everything about them or who they are working with.

It’s secured through a set of processes. I am not going into the details obviously, but this is something that is an incredibly complex situation with a huge set of regulations on a worldwide basis about what can and can't be done, and what should be done. HP is right at the core of that, with encryption technology, with processes, with services and products that span the gamut. That is a really good example of where Secure Advantage comes into play.

We are engaged in the standards development behind the scenes. We have many patents and many processes that help these banks put together what they need to make it all work. That's the sort of expertise we bring, when we go talk to companies in situations where they need to implement tools such as identity management and access management tools. Does that make sense?

Gardner: Sure, it does. Mark Tice, tell us from Oracle's perspective, why is it important to have a complete solution approach to this? It seems like so many applications, so many different cracks, if you will, in the foundation. What’s the philosophy from Oracle in terms of getting a comprehensive control over identity and access management?

Tice: Well, one of the things that we really encourage, and this is where we get great alignment with the folks at HP.

One of the things that we really work hard to do is make sure that first off, before breaking ground on one of these projects, customers put in place a complete framework, or architecture for their security in identity management, so that they really have a complete design that addresses all of their needs. We then encourage them to take things on one piece at a time. We design for the big bang, but actually recommend implementing on a piece by piece basis.

Gardner: Let's get into a little more detail about how companies actually come to grips with this. You can't start solving the problem until you have a sense of what the problem is. How significant is this? How out of control are the access and identity solutions and safeguards in companies? Dan Rueckert, you want to take a step with that?

Rueckert: It depends, now that we start to think about each industry and those areas that have the regulations and compliance issues and standards of business. As Archie said, the financial services area is very sophisticated in a lot of things they do. Once again, it’s the speed of business and the changes from mergers and acquisitions that have started to occur.

When we get into more traditional business, maybe heavy process in certain aspects, you might see lesser controls. But now, as we start to get into access into certain areas of a process facility that tie together with the system, it starts to bring that together also. So, you have that different view.

Gardner: Let's look closely at the actual solutions. How do companies get started with this? Let's go to you, Archie. What are some of the first steps that you should take in order to gauge the problem and then start putting in the proper solution?

Reed: When we start thinking about security, one of the first things that people look at generally is some sort of risk analysis. As an example, HP has an analysis toolkit that we offer as a service to help folks decide what is critical to them. It takes all sorts of inputs, the regulations that are impacting your business, the internal drivers to ensure that your business not only is secured, but also moving in the right direction that you wanted to move.

Within this toolkit, called the Information Security Service Management (ISSM) reference model, is a set of tools where we can interview all of the participants, all of the stakeholders in that policy or process, and then look at the other inputs that are predefined, such as the regulations.

If you are in healthcare, you are looking at the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If you are dealing with credit cards, then you are looking at things such as the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standard, about how you have to handle the data, and whether you have to encrypt.

By having these things that are predefined, not only in terms of being more prescriptive for companies, which helps them a lot, but also being more accessible in terms of how quickly they can decide what's important, allows them to move on and decide in which order they’re going to implement their security strategy? They may already have pieces in place, and that's another part of the ISSM reference model that asks, “Where do you grade yourself on this, and where do you want to be?”

There is also in this gap analysis between what is and what should be or what is wanted. That allows the company to decide how they’re going to implement these sorts of things. That becomes a great way to then determine how to cost things out, and that's also an important factor for organizations.

Generally, beyond that, folks are looking at a triumvirate of focal points which shows this governance risk management and compliance (GRC), which essentially says, “Here are the drivers. What's the analysis that we are going to do, and what are the approaches we are going to take to deal with that?” And, they essentially align or deal with the contentions between business and security requirements.

Those sorts of things allow a company to get up to speed quickly and analyze where they’re at. You may have a security review every year, but a lot of companies need to do it more often in more isolated ways. Having the right tools come out of these sorts of things allows them to do ongoing assessments of where they’re at, as well.

Hopefully that's the bulk of the question, and we can go into a little bit more detail with Dan about how services help you do that.

Gardner: How about some examples? Do you have either companies we can talk about directly, or use-case descriptions, where you have gone in. What are some of the pay backs? What are some of the savings or risk-avoidance benefits?

Rueckert: Let me start. When you truly get at the basics and you have the right access at the right time, you start to look at whether you have someone waiting to have something done from a system perspective.

It takes time, it wastes time, and somebody not doing what they were hired to do as far as their general responsibilities. So, there are labor efficiencies that can be gained by having that type of access, and then you get into the number of incidents or request to a help desk to enable someone who says “I am having a problem, help me”.

You start to look at these labor efficiencies from just a pure IT perspective. If you don't have the things that you need to do your job, you then hit the bottom-line tremendously in the line of business in that value chain. So it can cascade out tremendously as far as that.

The other is access, as far as your partners in conducting business. If they don't have what they need from an external point, they can hold up payments or shipments that you might need. All different sorts of people rely on this. I need to validate, I need to know who you are, so then I can conduct my business as I need to.

Reed: Another way to look at this is, when you consider how companies today are not only trying to be more efficient, provide cost savings, analyze, and do more with less -- whichever way you want to phrase it -- there is also an approach that says, “Let's consolidate our datacenters. Let's bring everything together and minimize the amount of stuff on the network. Let's do whatever we can to try and resolve the sort of cost issues.”

Again, when you start to think about who can do what, who has access to what and how much can they do, regardless of how you do those consolidation efforts, you need to consider security.

So, I would also raise the HP Adaptive Infrastructure as an example of how we help customers deal with those challenges of reconciling between the two. Adaptive Infrastructure is essentially a portfolio that help customers at all their data centers, from the high-cost silos where everybody has their Internet on their own servers, and they all have their own hardware in place to low-cost pooled assets.

That allows an IT department to move to that service provider model that a lot are trying to get to, while meeting needs. We help customers evolve to the next-generation data center, 24/7, lights-out computing, blades in place, virtualization. You get that lower cost. You get the high quality of service, but you also cannot ignore the security as being a critical component to that.

I’ll give an example of some customers we’re helping with virtualization right now. Even in the virtualization space, where everybody is trying to get more from the same hardware, you cannot ignore things such as access control. When you bring up who has access to that core system, when you bring up who has access to the operating system within the virtual environment, all of those things need to be considered and maintained with the right business and access controls in place.

The only way to do that is by having the right IAM processes and tools that allow an organization to define who gets access to these things, because important processing is happening on the one box. You are no longer just securing the box physically. You're securing the various applications that are stacked on top of all of that.

Gardner: Of course if you get it right, it can be of great value as you move into other types of activities. Whether it’s taking advantage of application, modernization or virtualization, building out those next generation data centers, having your IAM act together so to speak, certainly there’s a strong foundation for doing these other activities better and with less cost and risk.

Tice: Dana, I’d like to jump in on that one. What we see when we first go into companies, when they don’t have this in place, is that most of their identity management work is done in silos. It's done in a department, or an app-by-app basis. The fact of the matter is that each department or each group has to make up their own security policies, implement them, and manage them. From a company perspective, it means that your security is only as good as your weakest department.

So, you've hit it dead on. Having the right policies in place, and then tools to manage and implement those, is critical. It means that you can act, instead of having to stop, think, and then act -- time, and time, and time again.

Gardner: Moving into the future road map, what we expect, it seems, is that not only is access management important for today’s infrastructure. As we continue to automate, ramp up rules and policies, and start using events-based inference and business intelligence, this also is a foundation for creating a more robust and increasingly automated approach to IT, as well as provisioning of services and application. This is particularly true, as we move into what we call cloud computing nowadays, where we are going to get applications and services from the variety of different sources.

So who wants to take the approach to the future, and have us build on that opportunity?

Rueckert: I’ll comment on just some of the things that are happening right now, and you haven’t talked about the mobility of employees.

We talked more traditionally about datacenters and maybe desktops, but now we have hand-held devices that are mobile in nature and contain a lot of power, and we need to make sure we validate that they can have access.

You can take simple examples of BlackBerry devices and other entities that now tie back into applications and key data that they need in the field, and can use wireless networks. It’s a tremendous benefit overall, as far as where we are going, and it’s why this is so important as we start to work towards the future.

Reed: I’d back that up by saying that, when we start to consider IAM, one thing we really haven't touched on, but sort of alluded to so far in the conversation, has been all of this process and other stuff that happens on the identity management side of house. The provisioning, the decisions, the policy management happens over the longer term. Access management is more of a defined policy and enforced in real-time. There is a lot of more to this overall aspect that relates to one of HP's core areas of expertise, management tools in general.

So, when we define the policies, when we decide what the procedures are for following that, we need good tools that allow you effectively to implement and write out what they are, and automate those policies and procedures, so that they are enforceable.

More importantly, over the longer term, changes occur. For example, in the last year alone, in 2008, there is an estimate of an extra 9,000 to 10,000 regulations that small to medium businesses must follow -- and that's not including what big businesses have to follow in terms of changes for the regulations they're already engaged in.

Now, consider the impact that has on being able to rewrite change, manage the policies across all of your business units, and consider what Mark was talking about in terms of businesses that have siloed security approaches. There is no guarantee, unless you have a comprehensive view over all of your systems, services, and business policies, that you can guarantee to the outside world that you are complaint.

Once we've got all this defined, we now need to monitor, and report at least internally, sometimes externally, that we are being complaint. This is another area where management tools and IAM in particular, allow you to say and prove that you have done what is required by the regulations.

Regulations are generally thought of as being driven by government bodies. If you deal internationally, that can mean a lot of different things in lot of different regions. But, regulations can also be internally driven.

They can be internal policies that you have decided as an organization need to be enforced, because you believe that if you want better customer service, you do things this way. Ultimately, it all comes down to making sure that the process is defined, is easily either automated or followed, and finally, and ultimately, reported on an adequate way -- whether it has been circumvented, incorrectly used, or, more generally, that the right thing was done.

Ultimately, it comes back to this discussion we had earlier, which is that GRC and things like IAM play a critical role in that. That's why we have chosen to go with the strategy that we have as HP, as part of Secure Advantage.

Working with folks like Oracle, who have some of the best tools out there in order to support certainly middle sized businesses, but also large organizations with huge, siloed security problems, different businesses, and different geographies. It’s a huge issue that companies need to resolve with tools, because there's no way to do it manually.

Gardner: Alright. Looking toward the next rev, if you will, of these tools, Mark Tice at Oracle, maybe you could outline what the plan for the future is for HP and Oracle working together and where the access management capabilities will come from? I surely don't expect their pre-announcements on products, but just a sense of where the technology is headed?

Tice: Sure. It runs down a couple of different threads. In your last question you touched on the cloud computing issue, and one of the things you will hear us talking about more and more in the future, is the emergence of identity management as a service.

That is, make it real easy for applications to leverage identity management services for access control, permissions, and such. Make it easy for them to access those. One, so that you can support a cloud environment seamlessly and easily. And two, you don't have to replicate a lot of security in identity management code in applications. You can have applications what do or they do best, which is support application logic and leave a lot of security infrastructure to tools like ours.

The second piece is in the area of quickly adapting to change. We see identity management right now as a 1.0 in a 2.0 piece, the very basics, like user provisioning, access control, single sign on, federation -- that is the ability to allow other entities from outside of your firewall and give seamless access for trusted sources.

We see this as kind of 1.0, the very basics that you put in place. Even in the 2.0 space, that's really where we see things like strong authentication -- that is making sure that people are who they say they are -- and tie this into real-time risk detection. So, if we are detecting fraud, we make sure that we challenge people to a fairly extreme degree, if we perceive there to be risk.

Also, in the area of real management, we see deriving a lot of access based on business function, as opposed to complex IT rules. As people move around in the organization, they do different things. As Dan pointed out, as they merge and such, access is controlled automatically, based on where people sit in the organization, and what they are working on, as opposed to IT rules. Those are a couple of the trends that we see on the technology side.

Reed: I just want to expand on those comments, as well as something that Dan mentioned earlier, which was the mobility aspect. If we’re truly looking at what's coming up, what companies need to deal with, and why this ability to be able to deal with change quickly and effectively is important, we have to look at the new employees that are coming into the market. We have to look at the new business situations or paradigms that organizations are dealing with.

The new employees are coming out of the universities these days. They've got all the Facebook and MySpace -- and all such things.

They’re also used to using their own kit. They're used to plopping down wherever they are, being able to work on what they want, using whatever equipment they want, and consider themselves masters of their own identity.

When they walk into a company, they would like nothing more than to be able to bring a hardware that they can use at home, can move around with, and still be able to access the resources they need to do the work that they have been asked to do.

We'd love for those to be HP bits of hardware, but the reality is, if you take a broader sense, you need to be able to deal with that situation. If you think about the companies and the way in which the things have been moving, that is to deal with more partners, they've got to deal with more outsourcing too, all of these situations where they are no longer in control of the identity of who is using their kit. They are responsible for it, but they may not be in control of it.

This is happening worldwide. The contractor market has been around for a long time, but is evolving in this respect. They expect to run their own equipment, but use your organizational resources to do their job. There are outsourced organizations that expect to get access to your blue prints to produce things for your company.

But you have all these regulatory issues that you have got to deal with, which require encryption, monitoring, and access controls to be in place. And again, these regulations are changing over and over. If we think more about the business sense than the technology sense, you've got to have available to the business users the tools that allow them to do those things in a secure manner, and allow them to adjust to the processes, as Mark was saying, in a rapid fashion, without compromising the security of the organization as a whole.

Gardner: So, in the future we'll have a number of different scenarios where the end point hardware might be any number of different options, only to extend that access and management to that individual, based on their role, their business process context, and so forth. Sounds like a very interesting time.

Reed: Absolutely. We've heard about the borders to the company not being anywhere, the castle metaphor thing -- being broken down. The network is no longer Secure in and of itself. There is no perimeter.

I fully expect that within the next five to ten years we will be carrying around all of our data and all of our essential knowledge on memory sticks or in the cloud, and that will be all it needs to sometimes get to work. There will be devices everywhere that we should be able to use -- be it a mobile phone, a mobile device, right through to a huge, honking desktop that just happens to be there.

Gardner: And IAM is really the key to unlocking that sort of a flexible future.

Reed: Yes. Fundamentally, IAM is about managing those relationships between who is coming into the network, who is getting access to things, why are they getting access, how, and when are they allowed to do that.

Gardner: And, when done right, there are many different benefits, not only risk reduction, but as we had been discussing, now we look into the future with a lot more flexibility in terms of how IT can be distributed and used.

Great. We have been talking about identity and access management, it's impact on security and risk, some of the new opportunities for using this in different scenarios, including cloud computing and distribution of a variety of devices, sometimes not even the organizations or the enterprises devices.

Helping us weed through some of these topics, we have been joined by Dan Rueckert, a worldwide practice director for security and risk management, at HP, C&I. Thank you, Dan.

Rueckert: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: I have also been joined by Archie Reed, distinguished technologist in HP security office also in C&I. Thank you, Archie.

Reed: Thank you.

Gardner: And, Mark Tice, vice president of identity management at Oracle. Thank you, Mark.

Tice: Thanks, Dana, Archie, and Dan. Thanks for inviting me to attend.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions. You have been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast. Come back next time for more insights on IT strategies. Bye for now.

Listen to the podcast. Download the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Learn more. Sponsor: Hewlett-Packard.

For more information on HP and Oracle Identity and Access Management.

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For more information on HP Adaptive Infrastructure.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast the role of identity and access management in the changing enterprise. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2008. All rights reserved.