Customs has joined the growing number of agencies “doing something” about identity management. In a tender for an identity management solution closing on 9 May, Customs said that the separate evolution of its business systems had resulted in “non-standard, independently managed information and IT solutions with identity and access management processes that pose challenges to the security, privacy and efficiency of the organisation.” The tender encompasses identity management, identification and authentication, data protection, cryptographic support, audit and reporting with the solution to allow identification of personnel, facilities, IT resources, access controls and physical access management.
Identity management is a hot field at the moment, with research group IDC predicting 42% growth in the Australian market in 2006 and 2007.
One of the players is expected to be ActivIdentity, which acquired Canberra-based Protocom Developments in August 2005. At the time, former Chief Executive Officer Ben Barnes said that the acquisition would help ActivIdentity “capitalise on Protocom’s recognised leadership in enterprise single sign-on solutions.” Protocom was identified as the fastest growing software development firm in Australia in the 2004 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards. Jason Hart, who established Protocom in 1989, was appointed ActivIdentity’s new Chief Executive Officer in March.
Protocom has worked with Centrelink since 2002 in password management, with Centrelink signing a new $795,000 contract with Protocom for security system support and software in 2005. Protocom has been held up as an example of Centrelink’s willingness to work with SMEs, with Centrelink CIO Jane Treadwell saying last year “Protocom was a small company when we first started dealing with them in the security market arena… and that gave them an anchor point to become a significant international player.”
IBM, Sun and Novell are other possible contenders. Centrelink acquired access management software valued at $1.65m from Novell in May 2005. The Customs tender may have been influenced by recent experience at the ATO, which announced a single sign-on / access control system contract with Sun valued at $1.7m in August 2005.