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Identity management in large heterogeneous IT environments is complex and in many enterprises, a work in progress. The fundamental challenge is how to bring disparate operating systems and authentication systems under central management including a unified directory where all identities reside. The benefits are significant. Centralized identity management offers better security, administrative efficiency and the end user convenience of single sign on.

There are solutions that provide the glue that binds disparate systems together under a unified directory structure. However, few if any of them include access controls for identities that drive automated processes. As more and more data center and business processes are automated, the number of machine identities keeps rising even as the number of interactive user identities remains static or even declines. The result is centralized identity management governance is addressing an ever shrinking share of overall identities enterprise wide.

This application note discusses the underlying difficulties in managing machine identities and describes a practical solution to this complex problem.

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