Network identity - defining your key asset

May 2002 Infrastructure

Network identity is set to become an integral part of today's business continuity processes. Implementing network identity solutions will enable companies to manage and control their most vital assets - their customers. Says Scott McNealy, chairman and CEO of Sun Microsystems: "Network identity is the defining issue of the decade, maybe the century. It defines the only corporate asset that counts - your community. Your customers, shareholders, partners and employees. Either get it, or your biggest competitor will."

Managing network identities allows organisations to build stronger, more tailored relationships and services - built to widely different levels of security. But, according to Stefano Mattiello, managing director of Sun Microsystems SA, companies need to get their Network identity houses in order before they can start taking advantage of all the opportunities associated with the Internet and Web services.

"Organisations have three identity objectives and foremost is the need for heightened security and identity control around an organisation's Web interactions in the form of accurate authorisation and authentication," explains Mattiello.

"Second is the need for an open identity service, rather than one with the potential to disintermediate them downstream. Finally, companies need a rapid and comprehensive way to set up a robust, scalable and reliable backbone for establishing their own network identity system."

Sun Microsystems is a founding member of the Liberty Alliance (, which seeks to develop and deploy a federated network identity that enables ubiquitous single sign-on, decentralised authentication and open authorisations from any device connected to the Internet. Concludes Mattiello: "Federated services will result in new levels of business efficiency. It is the only road to a network-based economic system that opens the door to world of opportunity in this era of B2B and B2B e-commerce."

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