September 13, 2006 7:30 PM PDT

Microsoft pitches InfoCard for businesses

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--New identity management technology in Windows Vista can bring down enterprise access management barriers, according to Microsoft.

By using technology known as Windows CardSpace, formerly code-named InfoCard, individuals in an organization could grant access to outsiders without having to involve the IT department, Kim Cameron, identity and access architect at Microsoft, said in a presentation Wednesday at the Digital ID World Conference here.

"The main role of information cards in the enterprise is to devolve access control to the resource owners," Cameron said. "Setting access control policies becomes a naturalistic and intuitive and visual process."

With today's systems, granting a third party access to a corporate resource has become fraught with red tape, stifling business, Cameron argued. With CardSpace, owners of certain information resources at an organization can easily unlock those to specific outsiders by making their own risk assessment, he said.

"My belief is that trust is local," Cameron said. "Make the granting of access easy enough so that users can do it, albeit under adult supervision."

Layers of bureaucracy have arisen from the lack of efficiencies in today's identity management technologies, Cameron said. Typically, any kind of access control is handled by a specific department in an enterprise because the technology is very complex, he said.

"Business people can't actually do directly the kinds of things that they want because it is too hard," Cameron said. "If we continue to organize this by doing it all in a centralized, bureaucratic way, then you end up with solutions that are increasingly complex."

CardSpace is a component of the Microsoft .NET Framework version 3.0, which was formerly called WinFX. Microsoft has been promoting the technology as a way to make using digital identities easier and safer and replace username and password as the means of verifying identity on the Internet.

Microsoft envisions the use of CardSpace and granting access in Windows Vista to be as simple as using a Word processor. Vista, the successor to Windows XP, is due to be broadly available in January.

"Nowadays nobody has to go and learn how to do word processing; everybody knows how to do it. That is the kind of approach that will allow us to really have secure controlled access that works for business purposes," Cameron said.

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Windows CardSpace, access control, access management, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Corp.

5 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Daear businesses:
We've come up with a fabulous new Microsoft-only technology
that solves a problem that doesn't exist. In fact, there are plenty
of products that do a better job of solving real, existing
problems using proven technology, but our new, unproven
"solution" has a great logo that meshes nicely with the Windows
color scheme.

The tech press and our sales force will ***** Infocard up and
down to make sure your competitors are buying it - at the same
time they're making your competitors think you're buying it. And
once you've all signed contracts, we'll ship the 1.0!

Next, you'll see the exciting evolution of Infocard technology, to
Infocard 2.0 - in about four years. But it'll only work with
Windows Vista 2. And after that, we'll kill Inforcard.

So c'mon - get on the SmartMicrosftInfoboondoggleCard
Bandwagon! It can't be any worse than any of our other trial
balloons!

Sincerely,

Microsoft

P.S. Where do you want it inserted today?
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
InfoCard potential security breach..??
Quote: "individuals in an organization could grant access to
outsiders without having to involve the IT department"
A work around to cut out the system admin? hmmm.. Sounds to me
like a(nother) security breach in M$ Widows..!!
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Great idea, bring it on
Every time Microsoft "innovates" something to eliminate the
need of I.T. support, they create a new set of problems which
actually increases the amount of required support. As an long
time I.T. manager I think this is great.

MS Windows is "The I.T. Worker's Full Employment Act".

As long as Windows is the dominant OS in business, we'll have a
job. Unfortunately, it looks like Linux and OS X is continuing to
gain marketshare. If that continues we could be in trouble.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
InfoCard
Actually it is not a work around but rather a natural evolution ... if you wish. InfoCard will work similar to how Kerberos authentication works, i.e. it will contain an encrypted token. Decryption of which will be done by a third party. In other words it is a type of brokered authetication, which I am sure you will agree is much more secure (and in fact easier to use) than a regular user-name/password.
Posted by dmitry76 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: InfoCard
"I am sure you will agree is much more secure (and in fact easier
to use) than a regular user-name/password."

It's also got several more points of failure. If I forget my
password, secure means of resetting it are available - but I don't
forget my password. Microsoft wants businesses to count on
technology that has points of failure among three parties? This
proposal, from a company that has proven time, and time again
that they don't understand the difference between security and
marketing?

Sorry, I'm not buying it.
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.