Novell Reveals Authentication Software

At the RSA 2000 Conference here today, Novell Inc. introduced the Novell Modular Authentication Service (NMAS), authentication software that leverages directories to integrate and manage third party authentication devices within a Novell Directory Services (NDS) environment.

According to a Novell spokesman, NMAS provides a single point of administration and management for a growing class of biometric and other authentication devices, including smart cards and physical tokens.

Fifteen security companies from the biometric, smart card, and token arena also announced that their products would support NMAS. They include: ActivCard, Arcot Systems, Biometric Access, Compaq Computer, Datakey, Dialog Communication Systems, Gemplus, Identix, Keyware Technologies, Protocom, RSA Security, Saflink, Schlumberger, Secure Computing, and VASCO Data Security.

"Security is evolving from providing something that you know, such as a password, to something that you are, such as biometrics, or something that you have, in the case of tokens and smart cards," said Patrick Harr, Novell director of product management, in a statement. "Being able to support and manage all of these new security devices in a single place with NMAS demonstrates the value of NDS eDirectory for managing access to your network services, data, and information."

NMAS allows users to authenticate their identities using different and multiple authentication methods -- including their face, fingerprint, voice, signature, iris, tokens, smart cards, and passwords -- in the network environment, and delivers the capability to assign authentication policies to users, groups, applications, and access methods, Novell officials said.

Novell Modular Authentication Service will be delivered in two forms: The NMAS Starter Pack, which is aimed at straightforward log-in applications, and the more comprehensive NMAS Enterprise Edition, which is for more stringent security environments and includes multi-factor authentication, where more than one authentication method is needed, and graded authentication, where different levels of access are granted.

NMAS Enterprise Edition, which features the NMAS Starter Pack, acts in an expanded network authentication role via NDS, by allowing the network administrator to set up a sequence of authentication requirements required for log-in.

By utilizing the Graded Authentication capacity of NMAS Enterprise Edition, an administrator can establish "grades" among the different authentication methods and then grant NDS partition or volume access based on authentication methods used, Novell officials said.

Novell also announced that its Consulting Services and Rapid Deployment program is available to assist, design, plan, pilot, and deploy NMAS.

NMAS Starter Pack enables NDS users to authenticate via smart card, physical token, biometric, X.509 certificate, or various other forms of passwords. It is available for free download from http://www.novell.com/products/nmas.

NMDS Enterprise Edition begins at US$995 for a server plus 5 users, and will be available for order at the end of March from Novell channel partners.

Novell Inc., in Orem, Utah, is at http://www.novell.com/.

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