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You know the drill: Your organization must securely authenticate, authorize and audit users and the resources they access, while ensuring that customers and partners get the royal treatment.

To handle the first part of this equation, you must implement systems to cover the three A's: authentication (Who are you?), authorization (What can you access?) and audit (What has been accessed by whom?). Gathering this data manually is expensive, so many organizations cut costs by automating. But it's a hard row to hoe: IT managers must deal with numerous data repositories and identity stores, as well as diverse operating systems and business units.

Today, the average Fortune 1000 company maintains 181 data repositories, according to Gartner. Jackson Shaw, a product manager for MIIS (Microsoft Identity Information Server), says one of his customers has 89 distinct identity stores. The manager of systems and processes for a Fortune 100 company's customer-care division says that on a typical day, he authenticates against a dozen internal iden-

tity stores and six to eight external stores. He's frustrated, he says, by the security risks posed by those identity stores' containing active accounts and identities of past employees, noting that it's common for employees to have improper access to resources. Alternatively--and just as frustrating--when an employee does need access to a resource, he or she may spend weeks trying to get the proper authorization.

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