Following recent announcements from competitors about identity management plans, Computer Associates International (CA) said that it will join six of its eTrust products into a unified identity and access management suite.

CA unveiled the first component of the eTrust Identity and Access Management Suite, a new version of eTrust Admin, at the Computer Security Institute (CSI) Conference and Exhibition and plans updates for five other products for the CA World 2004 show in May 2004, according to Bilhar Mann, vice president of product management at CA.

The new version of eTrust Admin features an updated user interface and more features to help customers tie user provisioning features to other business processes, Mann said. For example, the new eTrust Admin will make it easier for customers to integrate custom functions written in the Java or C programming languages into the provisioning workflow, he said.

"We're finding that when clients do provisioning, they often ask us to run various types of business processes before provisioning takes place. We're going to provide them with the ability to customise our solutions to their requirements," Mann said.

Future releases of CA's eTrust Access Control, Audit, Directory, Single Sign-On and Web Access Control products will bring the various Suite components into line, implementing a common user interface across the various products and standardizing the product version numbering, according to a company spokesman.

As opposed to IBM's Tivoli product, CA's software will require less custom integration, Mann said. In some cases, the eTrust Identity and Access Management Suite will even work "out of the box," he said.

For customers who want to use part, but not all, of the Suite's components, eTrust Identity and Access Management Suite will work with third-party products and support XML (Extensible Markup Language) standards like SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language), SPML (Service Provisioning Markup Language) and the Liberty Alliance Project's Federated Network Identity architecture, Mann said.

CA's decision to integrate its identity and access management products is an effort to tap into a rapidly growing market for identity management products, said Dan Blum, senior vice president and research director at The Burton Group.

The move to a suite of products is in line with similar efforts by IBM, Novell Inc. and others. The companies are being driven by customer demands that identity management be integrated with other security functions, Blum said.

While companies like Novell, CA and IBM can simply tie existing products closer together, smaller identity management companies are trying to respond to demands for integration by partnering with other companies that sell technology complementary to their own, he said.

Offering a suite also enables companies like CA to continue making money off identity and access management products even after certain products, like Web single sign-on, cease to command the premium they once did. With a suite approach, new functions can be added that demand a premium and keep the profits coming, he said.

CA will charge a per-server monthly fee of US$2,800 to license eTrust Admin, in addition to a monthly per-user fee of $1, Mann said. Updated pricing information for the other Suite components will be provided when those components are released in May, according to a CA spokesman.