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New Tool Streamlines Management of Personal Identity Data

New Tool Streamlines Management of Personal Identity Data
November 13, 2002

Waveset Technologies, Inc. on Monday announced an addition to its Lighthouse line of identity management tools with a product that automates management of and changes to personal identity information.

Existing Lighthouse tools are intended to automate the process of granting and revoking access privileges to various enterprise systems and applications. The new Identity Broker uses the same underlying workflow technology to address the change process for personal identity data, such as names and addresses, for both internal employees and customers. Streamlining the process can cut costs as well as increase security, by keeping different applications in synch on the identity of authorized users.

The seemingly simple task of changing one's name after a marriage can wreak havoc for a customer management system, says Mark McClain, president and founder of Waveset, based in Austin, Texas. If multiple applications are used to track customers, or if a customer has accounts with different units of the same company, it can be troublesome to make sure the change is reflected in each applicable application.

"This can drive customers to the level of frustration that might cause them to switch companies," McClain says.

Employees can experience a similar level of frustration when changing personal information on internal company systems. Here again, a name change must be reflected in any application that houses the employee's name, from human resources and enterprise resource planning tools to email systems. When errors occur, security can be compromised.

Making the change can also be costly to the enterprise, according to Kevin Cunningham, vice president and founder of Waveset. He cites a META Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers study that showed only 5% of calls to company help desks involve changes to identity data, but they took as much time to address as did calls relating to password management and account changes combined, which together account for half of all help desk calls.

Cunningham describes Identity Broker as a centralized switch for identity information. A change made in a HR application, for example, will be reflected in all other applications that use the same information. A predefined, policy-based process ensures changes are made only by authorized users, which may be employees and customers themselves.

When applicable, Identity Broker can ensure changes are approved by an appropriate contact. The entire process is automated via email and Web links, eliminating the paper-based approval process.

"That paper trail can sometimes takes weeks," Cunningham says.

Management of identity data will take on new importance as companies seek to comply with legislation such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, McClain says. Any company that houses employee health insurance data, for example, will need to ensure the privacy of that data in order to comply with certain provisions of the act, some of which go into effect as soon as April 2003.

Identity Broker costs about $35 to $40 per user, with discounts available for customers who buy additional Waveset modules. Most enterprise deals including multiple modules are in the $250,000 to $600,000 range, McClain says.

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