22 October 2004 Prospects for a common approach to managing identity across multiple applications have increased with IBM joining the Liberty Alliance.
The Liberty Alliance is conglomeration of vendors and users that is developing standards for federated identity management, which makes it possible to access multiple secure applications though a single sign on.
To date, IBM has stayed outside the group, developing its own Web Services Federation standard. But pressure from customers, including mobile operator Orange, has persuaded IBM to co-operate with the Sun Microsystems-founded Liberty Alliance.
Earlier this year, IBM signed a deal with Orange to create a single-sign-on service complying with Liberty specifications for its 50 million subscribers. It was on of the largest projects ever using Liberty guidelines.
“We were just meeting Orange’s needs,” IBM spokesman Ron Favali said. “IBM joining Liberty now is the next logical step in that progression.”
But IBM will continue to push its own Web Services Federation specification: “A broad range of federated identity specifications across its Tivoli identity management product line,” it said in a statement.
“Long term IBM believes the best solution for customers would be a convergence of various federated identity standards. IBM has joined the Liberty Alliance to help continue as a liaison between our customers and the industry in this effort.”