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Windows identity management tools move closer to completion

Updated versions of two identity management tools, ILM and IAG 2007, add improved control for user access.

Microsoft is set to release updated versions of two products that help Windows administrators manage user identities.

First is the release candidate of Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM) 2.0, an identity management tool that helps IT control user access to applications, data and the network. This release, which will be out this week, offers self-service provisioning.

In addition, ILM 2.0 manages rights privileges over time for smart cards and certifications.

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It also helps clean up access when an employee leaves the company and is integrated with Office 2007, although end users can also access lifecycle information via SharePoint, for example.

ILM was formerly called MIS Server, and it's used mostly by large companies. A benefit of ILM 2.0 is its potential to save time and money by speeding up provisioning processes, according to Brian Desmond, a Chicago-based consultant, Active Directory expert and Microsoft MVP.

"If you wanted to access a file share in your network, previously you might have had to call your service desk and get approval," Desmond said. "Now it is all workflow based. You go to a portal. There is no manual labor."

Microsoft will also release Intelligent Application Gateway 2007 (IAG) Service Pack 2. IAG can run as an appliance, as software, and now as a virtual machine and helps IT managers set granular policies on application traffic.

The service pack also adds support for the Firefox browser, Apple Macintoshes and the Linux operating system. In September 2007, Microsoft added improved integration with Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), which is a single sign-on technology for Internet-facing scenarios.

Separately, at the Professional Developers Conference 2008 last week, the company introduced a claims-based identity model for single sign-on, federation and authentication. As part of that release, ADFS has been re-named Geneva Server and will be released either late 2009 or early 2010.

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