Hitachi ID upgrades Password Manager

* Adds capabilities to support all of a user's authentication factors -- passwords, security questions, OTP tokens, smart cards, voice biometrics and hard disk encryption keys

My calendar says it's August, when all right-thinking people should either be: a) on vacation; b) about to go on vacation; or c) planning an upcoming vacation. Yet press releases and product announcements keep coming across my desk. I will do my part, I'll soldier on, and bring you the best of the news -- and the gist of the rest.

Hitachi ID (formerly M-Tech, and still located in Calgary) has just released version 7.0 of its Password Manager product. According to Hitachi ID CTO Idan Shoham, "Version 7 was designed from the ground up to be the most advanced platform for managing authentication factors. We started with our next-generation technology platform to get the best possible scalability, flexibility and reliability. We then added capabilities to support one-stop management of all of a user's authentication factors -- passwords, security questions, OTP tokens, smart cards, voice biometrics, hard disk encryption keys and more. The end result is that Password Manager 7.0 is the first true authentication management platform on the market."

Among the new and enhanced features in version 7.0 are:

Authentication chains, supporting context-sensitive and multi-step processes for validating user identity. Examples include:

* Protecting Extranet-facing deployments against attack by robots using CAPTCHAs.

* Leveraging mobile phones as an authentication factor.

* Integrating with consumer authentication services from vendors such as VeriSign or RSA.

User classes for flexible delegation of security rights. Examples include:

* Regional help desks with local authority to reset passwords.

* Empowering managers to reset passwords for their (direct or indirect) subordinates.

* A password synchronization service on Windows servers, which minimizes the code running in the operating system kernel and supports advanced features such as user filtering and a retry queue.

* Enhancements to the managed user enrollment system, enabling large organizations to control the pace at which users are invited to complete their profiles.

* New reports to track user profiles and login accounts, orphan and dormant accounts, enrollment progress and more.

* Official support for Windows 7 clients, including 64-bit versions.

Password Manager 7.0 is also the first release where telephone-based password and PIN reset (Hitachi ID Telephone Password Manager) and enterprise single sign-on (Hitachi ID Login Manager) are included in the base product and price.

I like products that do one thing (in this case, authentication) in all of its aspects and do it very well. Hitachi ID's Password Manager 7.0 certainly fits that description.

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