SPAWAR adopts identity management

A Navy battlegroup and five shore bases in the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command are communicating more securely by using a system that next year will be rolled out Navywide.

SPAWAR has integrated the NetPoint tool from Oblix Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., with Microsoft Windows Server and Active Directory, to add a layer of security through identity management and Web access control.

The command is using the system on ships and installations in the Atlantic Fleet, Pacific Fleet and Commander Naval Forces'Europe, with more than 10,000 users.

It works as an extra layer of security to boost single sign-on efforts, aiding other authentication tools like the Common Access Card to secure communication between users on ships and shore centers, according to Terry Howell, the Navy enterprise portal program manager at SPAWAR.

'The CAC is one way that you're authenticating yourself to the network you're in,' Howell said. 'Once you've done that, then Oblix will pass around your assertion, enabling single sign-on.'

Eventually, 800,000 users on nearly 300 ships, in addition to hundreds of shore installations, will access the Navy's secure Web portal through the system, he said.

Sharing data

Oblix NetPoint will help Navy users share data through Web services by exchanging Security Assertion Markup Language between security domains. SAML, a framework based on Extensible Markup Language for sharing security information, is growing in popularity for sharing user authentication and authorization information across disparate enterprises, Oblix officials said.

But the Navy's thousands of legacy systems pose a security risk, Howell said. 'All of these different networks have legacy ways that they maintain their' operations, he said. 'They all have their own infrastructure that they have to maintain. This offers one enterprisewide solution for that.'

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