The Dot Net Factory,Identity Management,SharePoint
With compliance issues top of mind for companies today, Identity and Access Management are critical components of any application. Keeping track of many users and their access to many different systems is often difficult and time consuming. The Dot Net Factory understands this and has released the latest version of its EmpowerID suite. EmpowerID v4 is a Role-based Access Control (RBAC) suite for all enterprise resources. EmpowerID offers a complete identity lifecycle management suite built on a .Net-based Service Oriented Architecture that utilizes Windows Workflow Foundation. And it’s based on Business Process Management. Now if that doesn’t peek your interest…. CMSWire had chance to speak with Patrick Parker, CEO and co-founder, and Brad Mandell co-founder and Chairman of Marketing for the Dot Net Factory. Both were able to provide some background and more detail on the newest Empower suite.

A Little Background on the Dot Net Factory

The Dot Net Factory, a Microsoft Gold Partner, was founded in 2005 in Dublin, Ohio. It’s a privately held profitable company that employs 25 people. They currently have approximately 275 clients including Cadbury and the WWF. Prior to getting into Identity Management solutions, they provided delegated administration and software solutions for Active Directory. For the last two and a half years they have worked on the EmpowerID v4 suite. Parker indicated that they were seeing a lot of organizations facing the same compliance challenges -- like Sarbanes Oxley -- without the tools available to manage them. What they wanted to do was provide a centralized business focused management solution --and so was born EmpowerID v4.

EmpowerID v4

“EmpowerID v4 uniquely centralizes and automates an enterprise’s entire resource provisioning and authorization management lifecycle.” The Differentiators The focus of EmpowerID is to automate the process of identity management and the granting, denying and deprovisioning of identities. It includes comprehensive auditing and reporting capabilities. Typically a user has many ids in an organization. EmpowerID v4 provides a single central application to manage all the identities within an organization and their access to applications. It enables you to see every system and person you are managing including SharePoint sites, custom applications, file shares and third party applications. EmpowerID has a single security model to manage users based on role and location (or “organizational zone”). Access to applications and systems is a result of policies for a role and location. And it’s time period based meaning a manager needs to re-approve a user’s role and accesses on a regular basis. Parker referred to this management as “cradle to the grave”. Another differentiator for the EmpowerID suite is that it is the only Identity Management solution that is a Business Process Management application (and not a pure technical solution) that utilizes workflow. So it enables an organization to adapt its identity management and permission provisioning to its business processes. The Customers For the last three months, the BBC Worldwide has been an EmpowerID v4 customer. They use the Role-based identity management for their SharePoint Extranet. The Government of Australia is another v4 customer using it for a hosted Exchange 2007 environment. The Technology The suite is built on the .Net Framework 3.5, uses the Microsoft Power Shell and exposes it’s workflow as Web Services -- enabling other partners to integrate their applications with the suite. If an organization is writing its own applications in-house, instead of writing security code, they can leverage EmpowerID by simply making calls via web services. Screens and functions are all considered resources in EmpowerID and can thus be managed. It has a SQL 2005 back-end that contains a set of complex relationships between hierarchical roles. Multi-tenancy is also supported. The interface is web-based and has the look of Office 2007 and Vista.

EmpowerID Role Enforcer for SharePoint

With the release of EmpowerID v4, also comes the release of the EmpowerID Role Enforcer for SharePoint 2007. This is the first role-based entitlement management application for SharePoint permissions. This offering enables a single, centralized view of a SharePoint environment, including all the sites and resources within the sites, who has what permissions to these resources and the ability to modify these permissions. The closest we’ve seen to this type of functionality is that of DocAve 4.5. As we’ve said before, this is functionality that should be built-in to the SharePoint Administration, but isn’t -- a factor that doesn’t bode well for administrating SharePoint without the purchase of a third party product.
“EmpowerID v4 answers the question, “who has access to what” so organizations can stop worrying about account management, audit, and policy enforcement, and get back to doing business,” said Patrick Parker, chief executive officer, The Dot Net Factory. “Whether the driver for the question is business process management, compliance or security, in nearly all cases, the answer is Authorization Management. In order to effectively implement authorization management, modern organizations and enterprises need a system that is connected to business structures, and automatically changes with organizational changes.”
This is definitely a product suite you should be carefully reviewing. Most identity management or permission provisioning solutions are purely technical solutions that require a great detail of customization. EmpowerID appears to be a solution that will adapt with your organizational changes and provides you a true business view into the management of applications and users. If you are planning to attend the 2008 Directory Experts Conference in Chicago this month, The Dot Net Factory will be there as a sponsor. They are planning a demo of EmpowerID v4 that highlights the extensibility of the suite. In addition, look for a Virtual Environment Test Drive on the Dot Net Factory website around mid-March. For more information on the EmpowerID v4 suite, see The Dot Net Factory website.