These days, there’s a lot of talk about regulatory compliance. Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and any number of non federal regulations have caused business owners much concern about security and records management. In our search for the Utopia that is foolproof identity, we often overlook the simplest solution of all: Unified Source. The quickest way to a consistent identity is a unified identity source. Take any application that you can, and leverage a central, authoritative identity source. One extensible solution that is most commonly used for enterprise authentication and authorization services is an LDAP directory. Today, many applications can perform authentication and authorization using a native LDAP directory. Whether you are attempting to unify authentication services for a thousand Linux servers, your Web 2.0 infrastructure, or simplify file and print authentication services, you can achieve that with one of today’s directory services.

Improved User Experience & Administration

If the gratitude of your users for a unified credential isn’t sufficient to entice you to manage one account per user, maybe the administration cost savings would be. Worried about Sarbanes Oxley compliance? If that user has a single account, it’s not hard to ensure that they’re deleted everywhere. On the same token, your user community knows what their username and password are. They don’t have to write it down to remember it.

Simplified Identity Management & Provisioning

When you can’t use your centralized, authoritative identity source, you can synchronize credentials across the different parts of your environment. For example, you could take your centralized directory credentials and synchronize them to a disparate directory service (from eDirectory to Active Directory, for example). Or, you could sync from Active Directory to a SQL table that is used for your application authentication. Following these identity rules will help you improve the supportability, usability, and audit capabilities of your environment. By ensuring that you use a single source as often as possible, you improve the supportability of your environment, because we all know how much fun it is to support overly complex environments. It's the K.I.S.S. principle in action, and we love it.