Mainland groups batten down to secure networks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2007, 12:00am

External threats to their software operations are prompting the mainland public sector and commercial enterprises to use identity and access-management technologies increasingly to secure their networks, according to United States-based software firm Oracle.

Companies ranging from game providers such as Shanda to financial giants such as PICC Life Insurance are among a growing number of organisations identified by Oracle as spearheading this information technology trend across the mainland.

Other adherents include Guangdong Telecom and Foshan Telecom, Guangdong Transportation Bureau and Shanghai Education.

'In the past, IT security was designed to keep people out of a network,' said Michael Burling, general manager for identity management solutions at Oracle Asia-Pacific. 'With more applications exposed to partners, customers and remote users in the field in today's information-driven economy, the real challenge is in ensuring the right people have appropriate access to the right resources at the right time while ensuring privacy, accountability and regulatory compliance.'

The market for identity and access management software in the mainland will grow about 25 per cent a year to 2010 from US$35 million last year, research firm International Data Corp says.

The global market for these products could grow to more than US$5 billion by 2010, from US$3.4 billion last year, IDC said.

Identity and access management systems promise to cut the need for multiple user names and passwords for each service while maintaining privacy of personal information.

The use of multiple user names and passwords represents a boon for hacking, identity theft and other forms of internet crime and is causing substantial financial losses amounting to billions of US dollars, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a United Nations agency, found in a study in March.

To counter that, the ITU has set up a focus group - made up of developers, software vendors, standards forums, manufacturers, telecommunications companies, IT systems providers and academics from around the world - to enable the interoperability of different identity management solutions that will help reduce identity theft and fraud.

'Nobody can go it alone in this space; an identity management system must have global acceptance,' said Abbie Barbir, chairman of the ITU focus group.

For mainland enterprises, the first step is as simple as reconciling who in a group has access to what data, says Mr Burling. Implementing identity management solutions could help cut an organisation's administrative costs dramatically, he said.

Oracle's identity management already serves as the security backbone of its Fusion Middleware product.

Evans Data has found developers in the mainland are experiencing a high amount of network breaches.

'We see the information security sector growing rapidly as security threats escalate and dependence on IT systems increases for both multinational and domestic enterprises,' said John Andrews, president of Evans Data.

Security demand

The IDC says the mainland market for identity and access management software will grow about 25 per cent a year until 2010. Last year, it was, in US$ $35m


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