Tivoli tackles mobile network device security

Companies concerned about the security risks involved with letting end users access network resources via wireless devices might want to consider enhancements coming to Tivoli Systems' security management software.

The IBM subsidiary has upgraded its SecureWay Policy Director software to centralise the management of cell phones, PDAs and other handheld devices. To do this, Tivoli has added support for Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) devices in Policy Director, server software that lets IS staff centrally manage the authentication of end users and ensure that only the appropriate network resources are accessible to them.

The revised software is designed to prevent an IS staff from having to set up separate, dedicated security systems for wireless net users, says Carl Kessler, general manager of Tivoli products.

Among the products that Tivoli's software will work with are phones from Nokia, a big WAP supporter. SecureWay Policy Director now includes technology that lets it talk to Windows-based gateway server software from Nokia that translates IP traffic into the WAP format for transmission to end users of Nokia phones.

When a user dials in to the gateway, it would access Policy Director to verify the user's rights to tap in to network resources. This would not only centralise the company's management of mobile end users but also would eliminate the need for end users to use multiple log-ons or passwords.

Because WAP is still in its infancy, Tivoli says companies initially will need to rely on a Tivoli specialist to write the code to ensure that Policy Director will work with different vendors' WAP-enabled products.

Richard Lincoln, an IT administrator at Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, says he can see the value in using the upgraded Policy Director to get a better handle on mobile end-user management. But Lincoln says he'd probably wait a year or more before bringing it into his shop, to let the WAP kinks get worked out.

Policy Director with WAP support is available now on AIX, Solaris, Windows NT and other platforms.

Pricing depends on configuration.

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