Saturday, October 23, 2010

Integrating Unix and Linux Systems with Quest’s IAM Platform - Voelcker ActiveEntry

It’s been nearly a month since my last blog post. Things have been very busy and hectic to say the least, but I figured it was time to get back to posting so here goes...

One of the things that many people on the IAM team here at Quest have been working on is integrating various aspects of the current Quest IAM portfolio with our latest acquisition – Voelcker ActiveEntry. In my last post I talked about the integration of Microsoft’s Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) product with ActiveEntry.

In the screen shot below you can see that we have made more progress and have integrated Unix/Linux systems and identities into ActiveEntry. Fortunately, the design of ActiveEntry and our Unix/Linux identity products allows us to easily integrate these capabilities together into the ActiveEntry platform. A very valid question that anyone might ask is if this is simply showing the features of one product in another? The answer is definitely “no”, in fact it is much more.

By leveraging ActiveEntry’s capabilities and the web services interfaces in our Unix/Linux products it’s fairly easy for us to enable the integration but more importantly to provide some real value-add. Let me give you just a few examples of that value add:
  • Independent but integrated: Based on your role use the interface you prefer. An Unix/Linux administrator may prefer the straight-forward web interface that’s built into Quest Identity Manager for Unix (a free download by the way) while an end-user or business manager might prefer the more business/task oriented interface of ActiveEntry (below).
  • Enable end-user self-service: The integration with ActiveEntry enables Unix/Linux servers to be made available in the “Shop” interface so an end-user can request access to a particular Unix/Linux server by their individual server names or perhaps by the business application that is being hosted on that machine.
  • Approvals through integrated workflow: Once someone has shopped for a Unix/Linux server or business application a workflow request can be sent to the appropriate approval manager or administrator. Or, perhaps you’d like all request to be automatically approved? Depending on your compliance requirements you have the power to make that choice.
  • Enhanced compliance: By tying the approval process into ActiveEntry’s compliance capabilities you can do things like run reports to determine who requested access to a Unix/Linux server, who approved the access, etc.
  • Separation of Duties: Integrating Quest’s Unix/Linux identity products into ActiveEntry enables the system to have an all-up view of the many identities across your enterprise including other systems like HR, your Active Directory account information, group memberships, etc. All of this information can be used by ActiveEntry to perform separation of duties (SoD)checks when someone requests access to a Unix/Linux server. You can prevent the administrator of a Unix/Linux server from being the same person who approves access, for example. Or, you could check to ensure that members of a particular group in Active Directory (e.g., contractors) could not request a Unix/Linux account without additional approvals.
This example of how we are integrating Quest Identity Manager for Unix with ActiveEntry is just one of many product integrations that are underway right now. I will definitely showcase more of these examples so you can get the feel of how we’re leveraging the capabilities of ActiveEntry.