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Identity Engines Starts Ignition

Security startup Identity Engines unveiled its first product today, an appliance to control who gets access to disparate parts of an enterprise network. Though initially focused on the network layer, the company is already planning to extend the technology to back-end storage systems.

The one-rack-unit-high Ignition device links up with firewalls, routers, and switches, as well as user repositories and authentication systems, such as Microsoft Active Directory and RSAs authentication server. By managing these parts of the data center together, companies will have an easier time setting access control policies, say vendor spokespeople.

Roy Chua, Identity Engines’ vice president of marketing, says the startup is already considering extending its Identity device for use with SAN and NAS devices. “Initially, we’re helping at the network level,” he says. “And then, beyond, storage virtualization.” Chua claims Identity Engines is already “talking with a couple of new guys in that space.”

Identity management has become a major headache for IT managers, who are desperate not to see their companies' names plastered across the media due to security breaches. (See ChoicePoint Appoints Independent Exec.) But worryingly, this area has also been identified as something of a technology black hole. At the last Interop event in Las Vegas, for example, lack of effective identity management products was cited as a major problem by CIOs. (See CIOs Face Identity Crisis.)

The CIO at one of Identity Engines’s beta customers, a major U.S. residential real estate firm, who asked not to be named, admits network access is a nightmare. “We have the end-user remote computing scenario from hell,” he says, explaining that about 1,500 real estate agents get access to his network via a range of wireless devices.

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