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February 20, 2009

Novell to bolster ID controls

Reveals cash takeover and licencing deals

By CBR Staff Writer

Novell Inc has coupled an acquisition with a product licencing deal in a bid to bolster its capability to provide integrated identity, access and security management.

Its acquisition of UK-based Fortefi will see the addition of extra controls and compliance functions to Novell’s products around the area of ‘privileged user management’.

Fortefi produces software that brings a increased level of governance over enterprise security mechanisms, with provisioning and access management systems that keep a tight check on password control and prevent privilege escalation. 

One of the issues facing organisations is the elimination of bad practices related to the use and abuse of privileged accounts: privilege creep by the sharing of accounts leads to a lack of accountability. This is a problem, especially when regulatory legislation is increasing the demands put on organisations to maintain audit trails of system transactions and user activity.

Novell said it plans to use the Fortefi assets to launch a software suite that will streamline the process of demonstrating compliance with internal policies and external regulations. 

Novell Privileged User Manager is due in the first quarter and will include a Compliance Auditor and various Command Control agents. It will provide granular access control and auditing of super-user accounts across HP UNIX, Solaris and Microsoft Windows 2000, 2003 and XP platforms.

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Terms of the all-cash deal were not disclosed. 

Novell has also bought itself a perpetual source code license to single sign-on technology. The licencing agreement the company cut with ActivIdentity Inc allows Novell full access to technology that has been used in Novell SecureLogin since 2001.

The company said that following the cash payment it will now be able to have a full say in the product roadmap for Novell SecureLogin. 

ActivIdentity’s strong authentication and credential management systems provide proof-of-identity through multi-factor authentication with smart cards, USB tokens, one-time password tokens, soft tokens, biometrics, or a combination of these. Its tokens and associated software development kits are used by the US banking sector and various government departments.

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