Buried By The Authentication Avalanche

Tuesday, 17 December 2002, 3:32 AM EST

With identity theft on the rampage, network managers are being hit by an increasing barrage of software, hardware and services for user authentication. Organizations are implementing technologies ranging from traditional passwords/PINs to PKI and SSL certificates, tokens, fingerprint readers, and even voiceprints. Each solution carries its own infrastructure, along with its own technical ins-and-outs.

Observers agree that the authentication market is highly fractionalized. "Everybody and his brother is getting into authentication," contended Steven Hunt, VP of Research at Giga Information Group.

"Companies are recognizing that these products are using multiple and overlapping infrastructures. Passwords, for instance, have a whole help desk infrastructure behind them. The entire thing can be very confusing for administrators. The pressure is on for vendors to come up with a single shared process for authentication," he added.

"Everyone has been thinking they can do authentication is a slightly better way. The market is still very, very immature," concurred Scott Blake, president of information security at BindView Corporation.

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