IBM’s New Security Software Helps Smaller Companies Thwart Insider Threats
Software Identifies “Orphan Accounts” to Help Stop Unauthorized Access to Company Data.
ARMONK, NY - 17 Feb 2006: IBM today announced new security software to help small and mid-sized businesses -- from local credit unions to health clinics -- deal with security threats by helping stop unauthorized access to sensitive company data. The software, Tivoli Identity Manager Express, will bring big-business identity management capabilities to smaller companies, but in a more affordable version that even non-IT experts can install and manage.
IBM’s new software helps thwart insider attacks by blocking user accounts that a company has neglected to cancel when employees or contractors are dismissed or voluntarily leave a company. More than 60% of user accounts consist of these so-called “orphan accounts,” according to IBM studies. With Tivoli Identity Manager Express, smaller businesses can eliminate orphan accounts by enabling managers to control who has access to information, and continuously match the pool of user accounts with current employee and contractor listings.
Small businesses are prone to the same security threats as larger companies, but they often lack the large IT budgets or trained technical staff to set up identity management systems. Their entire security safety net may consist of antivirus software or a network firewall -- leaving the “digital back door” open to fired employees or dishonest contractors to access confidential financial or customer information. According to IBM studies, insider attacks are expected be a top security threat for 2006 because criminals are taking advantage of unclosed user accounts that linger after layoffs, mergers and acquisitions.
“An effective security strategy needs to go beyond a ’perimeter defense,’ such as firewall protection or antivirus software,” said Stuart McIrvine, director of corporate security for IBM. “Criminals are finding ways around this outside layer of protection, and businesses of all sizes need identity management processes in place to help ward off attacks from within.”
Software Protects Data, Automates Compliance
The new IBM software can help make it easier to meet compliance mandate requirements, such as maintaining appropriate internal controls, by automating the way companies verify employee access to information. Someone who has moved from payroll to accounting should no longer be able to be authorized to cut checks without special permission, since it’s no longer part of their job. The software also simplifies compliance efforts by automating the process of compiling audit information and preparing reports. This can cut the time it takes to prepare a report for a compliance auditor from days to hours.
Tivoli Identity Manager Express also helps companies cut down the cost of managing passwords. When employees forget or lose passwords, they often waste time “on hold” with a help desk, which costs businesses about $20 for each password reset request. IBM’s new software enables employees to automatically secure a new password on their own, in minutes. It also enables new employees or contractors to request and receive a new user account in minutes, a process that can take up to 12 days, especially for smaller businesses whose IT staffs are already overburdened.
IBM used the feedback of small and mid-size companies to develop the software features, such as customized “dashboard” views of the software tailored to a manager’s or help desk’s perspective. Growing mid-size companies can use the software as the first step toward a more advanced identity management solution by taking advantage of the quick deployment capabilities.
Tivoli Identity Manager Express will be available on February 28, 2006.
IBM is the world’s largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.
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