IBM pushes into identity management

IBM Corp. today demonstrated a secure identity management system meant to integrate physical security and cybersecurity.

The hardware-and-software system is built around IBM's Tivoli identity management software and technology from ActivCard Inc. of Fremont, Calif.; Bioscrypt Inc. of Van Nuys, Calif.; ImageWare Systems Inc. of San Diego; and VeriSign Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.

'The value of this solution is its simplicity,' said Kent Blossom, IBM's director of safety and security services. 'We're helping transform a complex, manual process into an integrated, easy-to-manage workflow.'

In today's demonstration at IBM's Washington-based Institute for Electronic Government, company officials showed how a government agency could enroll employees in a system, creating a smart card that includes a photo, fingerprint template and legacy-application passwords. The smart card was then used for physical access, through a General Electric reader with an embedded fingerprint scanner, and network access, through a PC-attached reader.

Ben Barnes, CEO of ActivCard, said the IBM system overcomes a significant challenge in integrating disparate technology components required for end-to-end identity management.

'This stuff looks easy, but it isn't,' Barnes said.

IBM officials used the identity management system with one of the company's new ThinkPad T42 notebook PCs, which have an integrated fingerprint scanner. Rather than a scanner that users lay their finger on, the ThinkPad T42 has a smaller device that users swipe their finger over.

The ThinkPad T42 came out earlier this week.

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