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Novell prepares partners for updated identity management tool

Novell says the launch of Identity Manager 4 will be partner-friendly, thanks to an easier installation process.

In an effort to address business models like distributed management and on-demand Software as a Service (SaaS), Novell Inc. will prepare partners for Identity Manager 4, a new product designed to manage identity and access across physical, virtual and cloud environments.

The updated identity management tool, according to Novell's Dipto Chakravarty, GM, cloud security, and VP of worldwide engineering, is partner-friendly, particularly because of a more simplified installation process.

Partners who have been working with the previous model, IDM 3.6, have often had to install certain modules separately, including those dedicated to data cleansing, workflow configuration and role-based access control. When Chakravarty met with many of Novell's channel partners, they were not shy about sharing their thoughts on the incremental installation and what changes were needed in Identity Manager 4.

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"They said, 'You're working in the factory. Make sure this tool [IDM 4] is easy to use,'" said Chakravarty, who has spent much of his time on the engineering floor. He added that the updated product, which launched yesterday, allows all of the modules to be installed at once.

The standard installation of Novell Identity Manager 4 integrates with Microsoft SharePoint, SAP AG's ERP systems and cloud applications including Salesforce.com and Google Apps. Along with a provisioning and deprovisioning feature that can quickly revoke or provide access across various touch points, like HR or sales departments, Identity Manager 4 also offers reporting capabilities and tools for policy framework design.

Chakravarty said the reporting function, which points to potential vulnerabilities, like weak passwords, users with elevated privileges or a data center's unpatched systems, will be a benefit to a CIO, who may not always receive that type of data.

To address security needs, Identity Manager 4 integrates log management capabilities and allows users to build policies and administrator notifications around security attributes or incidents, like multiple password retries, elevated privileges or ports being used behind a DMZ, for example.

"It's really a risk management dashboard for managing all the user identities," Chakravarty said.

Novell Identity Manager 4 Advanced Edition offers enterprise-level user provisioning, policy design and the ability to define roles and entitlements using drag-and-drop functionality.

To help partners support the product, Novell has continued its investments in training for both value-added resellers and consulting systems integrators.

Novell's enablement team is on tour doing in-person sales training on Identity Manager 4 for both Novell and partner sales teams, covering the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. The next rollout of face-to-face guidance will be sessions focused on technical training.

As with its other products, the Waltham,MA-based infrastructure software company also offers ongoing, on-demand partner training webcasts, materials and kits for both sales and technical audiences. Advanced technical training courses are also taught by Novell engineers and consultants.

Through its online portal, Novell partners can receive a sales training kit that includes downloadable documentation such as best-practice guidelines written by internal experts.

"This is a call to action for Novell," Chakravarty said. "We've been told by our partners: You guys have the best tool. Make your tools more channel ready so partners can consume them better."

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