Identity and Access Management was again one of the most pressing concerns for delegates attending the UCISA conference this year at the BT Convention Centre, next to Liverpool’s Albert Docks. It has been a turbulent year for the Higher Education sector, with the increase of tuition fees and some of the country’s most well established university’s having failed to reach their target numbers. To increase their attractiveness, universities want to improve their student experience and a great deal of expectation falls on IT departments to deliver. But this increased expectation from university executives is not always matched with increased budgets, so there is a real drive towards ‘doing more with less’. Continue reading →
Oxford Computer Group has been producing identity services on Microsoft technologies for over 10 years and Active Directory (AD) in most organisations is core to Microsoft Identity and Access Services. In the last 2 years Hybrid IT and Cloud have burst into life offering significant benefits in the way we provide services and deliver IT to the business.
One thing that is clear is a well-managed identity is fundamental to successful cloud adoption, and an efficient directory service is key to that. To support this we now have Windows Azure AD a directory service in the Cloud, what is it? and what value does it bring? Continue reading →
14 weeks to go and the preparation is not going quite to plan. The weather hasn’t helped, and Chairman Mao may have said that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, but he didn’t have internet based equipment research available to him.
Clearly, the current bike isn’t going to be up to the job. Yes I know I used to talk about it as a lightweight, flat bar racer, but my wife is a clever woman and she knows that I don’t want a solution like fitting some drop bars on it; nor does she find herself pointing out that in her time she has done the London to Brighton twice on a 3 speed Raleigh. Like I said, clever.
So, do I build or buy? Building would be fun; simpler than a Caterham, cheaper than a ski chalet, and you could stretch out the purchasing happiness over months. But there’s a good chance it could consume all of the available 14 weeks and I’d be setting off with no miles in my legs and a missing saddle or something from my painstakingly constructed camel. Continue reading →
They say “all you need is love”, but a little wine now and then doesn’t hurt. The prospect of winning a luxury case of wine delivered in time for Valentines’ day was enough for a significant number of customers to participate in our training survey. As Pliny the Elder once said “In wine, there’s truth” so what better prize could we offer? We thank you all for taking the time to let us know what you expect from the training courses you attend. Well, after drawing lots we are pleased to announce that the winner of the case of wine was Matthew Bagshaw from Staffordshire University. Congratulations Matthew, we hope you enjoyed the wine!
So what did you tell us about training? Well, 95% of you were aware that we actually run training courses which I have to say came as a huge relief to me as the training sales manager. It is also interesting to see that 78% of courses attended in the last 12 months were classroom based so in this virtual world we live there is still room for real face to face learning although with budget restraints; on-line courses are growing in popularity with 65% of you telling us that the course location is important. Where better to study than the county boasting the ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford as well as the world famous Oxford University? Continue reading →
With the proliferation of both business and personal Cloud solutions, password re-use is rife and potentially extremely harmful. Users simply cannot manage and remember a unique password for all of their online identities. What’s more, the re-use of passwords means that any security breach of personal accounts such as FaceBook, LinkedIn, bank accounts and online shopping services is likely to also expose corporate Cloud accounts and data to malicious attacks.
It’s a problem that’s rapidly growing in severity. Individuals are not only losing volumes of data on devices and cloud services, but also suffering the embarrassment of accounts being used to spread malicious comments. The seemingly nonstop wave of hacking, malware, and spear-phishing attacks have also succeeded in exploiting businesses, including RSA, Sony and LinkedIn, which saw some six million passwords being leaked onto the internet.
Google recently made the news with its plans for two-factor authentication in the consumer world using a modified Chrome browser and a small USB token called a YubiKey. The idea is to move away from requesting passwords because of their inherent insecurity.
Continue reading →
Recently Microsoft announced that the ECMA will be “deprecated” from the FIM product, however, with Release 2 of FIM 2010 we got ECMA 2. What does that mean? And what will the impact be for organizations with FIM installations?
What’s an ECMA?
Let’s start at the beginning. FIM (and indeed ILM before it) connects to lots of systems – and for each one it needs a connector – or management agent as it is called (MA). There are many out-of-the-box MAs, but in most implementations there will systems to which we cannot connect in this way, and so we use an Extensible Connectivity Management Agent (ECMA), sometimes also referred to as an XMA. Using this involves writing code to connect to the system concerned.
Continue reading →
It turns out there’s a few folks at Oxford Computer Group who like to ride bicycles. Splendid! Through this shared interest, we’ve decided to team up and hit the hills of Dartmoor in 2013. Why because it’s there! We will be taking part in the Dartmoor Classic. Only the short course mind, no point in over-doing things, is there? The short course still represents 104 Km of cycling in one of the most exposed landscapes in the country, including some 2163 meters of climbs. The organisers describe this as a “Taste of Devon”, it’s a concern how 2000+ meters of climbing is merely a ‘taste’ but it’s onwards and upwards for our brave band of pedellers. For some of us this represents ‘fun’, for others it’s a terrifying prospect. To find out more about this motley crew Continue reading →
Well 2012 was always going to be a big year for me; 10 year wedding anniversary, London 2012 of course, and last but not least hitting the BIG 40!
I suppose like many reaching this landmark one starts to assess one’s life and hit the stereotypical ‘midlife crisis’ and mine manifested itself by entering a 40 mile ultra-marathon! This involves 40 miles of cross country running – I like a challenge and 40 miles in December in the Brecon Beacons was certainly going to be that!
Race day started at 5am and despite my best efforts the landlady at the pub where I stayed wasn’t too keen to make my breakfast at that time. Continue reading →
What a summit we had this year! It’s got to be the best to date – with a great mix of old and new faces and a jam packed agenda. Day one was dominated by the latest iteration of Microsoft’s Identity offering; FIM 2010 R2, which brings the whole area of Access Governance into the Microsoft stack – proof that Redmond recognizes that this in an increasing business driver for organizations considering IAM solutions.
We were delighted that Mark Lainé the CIO of Generali accepted our invite and presented a powerful account of Generali’s experiences during a recent Role Mining exercise. We wanted to publicly thank him for sharing his thoughts and experiences. Mark provided a fantastic overview of the exercise, the results they achieved and how it has shaped the organization’s IAM strategy. Judging by the audience’s reaction, Mark’s comment on what he calls the “CIO Paradox”, where he is required to be both a ‘Strategic Thinker’ and an ‘Operational Manager’, experiencing a constant conflict between time for project work and business as usual, was a situation only too familiar to many in the room!
Continue reading →