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ID Management Gets Granular

New TNT software helps companies control access to critical data by user, device, and time of day

Your company knows where its money is, who can access it, and how to lock it down at any given time. The same is true for your inventory. But when it comes to data, many companies are still struggling to determine what's critical -- and how to lock it down.

Trusted Network Technologies on Monday plans to introduce a product that's designed to help. Identity 4.0, a new release of TNT's identity and access control tool, will begin shipping next week.

The new software offers an enhanced user interface that allows managers to restrict access to data based on the user's identity, location, or time of day. It also tracks the use of data on a user-by-user basis to help companies determine which information is critical, and to help create activity reports for compliance initiatives.

The need for better identity and access control is accelerating with each disclosure of an insider attack or security breach, says Wain Kellum, president and CEO of TNT. "It's affecting the compliance effort as well," he says. "Auditors are scrutinizing things even more closely after the TJX breach than they did before."

What companies need is a way to track and control access to critical information assets, just as they do for financial or physical assets, Kellum says. "And increasingly, business managers need to have some input on that control," he says. "It's not just an IT function anymore."

Identity 4.0 enables companies to track the use of servers and data down to the packet level, so they can see what users are accessing and when, according to TNT. "A lot of our customers start out in an audit phase, where they're evaluating how the data is being used," Kellum says. This information can help companies determine which data is most critical and set policies for restricting access to it.

The new software will also let users simulate the implementation of access policies to test their potential effects. And once the policies are implemented, the software will notify managers when there is a potential violation, according to TNT.

The TNT software employs user and device identity information that is stored in LDAP and Microsoft's Active Directory to map packet-level network activity monitoring and access control to the user level. "You could look at it as an extension of Active Directory," Kellum says. "It lets you see how your information assets are being used, and then it helps you enforce policies for restricting access to those assets."

Many companies want to restrict access to data not only by users or groups, but by time of day, Kellum observes. "For a lot of companies, the benefits of giving access to data from home at 3 a.m. are outweighed by the risks," he says. "For that small subset of data that's considered critical, they may choose to restrict it during off hours."

Identity 4.0 will begin shipping next week. Prices start at around $10,000, depending on the number of users and devices involved.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • Trusted Network Technologies Inc. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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