Novell Inc. has launched identity management products for auditing security activity in internal systems and for improved B2B security.

The products aim to help customers comply with new government regulations in the U.S. and Europe, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, said Wendy Steinle, director of solutions marketing for Novell Nsure. The launch, at the Burton Group Catalyst Conference in San Francisco, comes less than a week after Microsoft Corp.'s launch of its Identity Integration Server 2003 for identity management.

Novell's Nsure Audit is designed to collect security, system and application data on a centralized log, then filter the information for real-time monitoring, company officials said.

Rich Kubica, managing director of IS at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., said he would be interested in reviewing the Nsure Audit product to help his 800-bed hospital prepare for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, among other regulations.

"Nsure Audit is a pleasant surprise, and if it does half of what they say it does, I'll buy it," added Bill Kannberg, chief technology officer for Hillsboro County, Fla., which has 5,000 employees. He said that based on the promotional materials he's seen, the product would "cover a glaring hole" in Novell's offerings so that his organization won't have to write its own software to track outsiders coming into county systems.

Novell has also made available a free download of a Security Assertion Markup Language extension to its iChain 2.2 for identity management with business partners and customers.