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The fix is in for network identity access control apps

Several vendors offer network access control programs. Now Identity Engines, a start-up vendor with a Cisco-heavy pedigree, is launching its own variation on this theme.

The company says its Ignition 3000E rack-mounted appliance provides authentication, authorization and auditing services for distributed network infrastructures. Identity Engines says Ignition integrates with networking equipment from Cisco, Nortel Networks and other prominent vendors, and the Ignition appliance supports standards (or de facto standards) such as RADIUS, 802.1x, Microsoft's Active Directory and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.

"It's an appliance-based product that does authentication within the enterprise," says Roy Chua, co-founder and marketing VP with Identity Engines. "Equipment manufacturers were doing a great job building the silicon for network enforcement itself. What was missing was [an] identity infrastructure that could scale to serve the needs of the connected enterprise. That's what we do."

In many cases, Chua says, organizations are still using a flavor of RADIUS—the same technology used to authenticate dial-up remote access sessions—to authenticate their LAN, WAN and VPN clients. Not that RADIUS isn't an acceptable way of doing this, officials stress--just that no two RADIUS implementations are alike.

That's where Ignition aims to fit in: as a kind of broker in the wild terrain of competing network authentication schemes. The company positions its product as a single point of administration for the authentication, authorization and accounting (AAA, in network security-speak) of network clients.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a contributing editor for Enterprise Systems. He can be reached at stephen.swoyer@spinkle.net.

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