The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston (UTHSC-H) is the most comprehensive academic health center in Texas. Among all public health universities in Texas, UTHSC is number one in research in child health and human development. The university has more than 3,500 students and 4,400 faculty and staff.
Because researchers have diverse needs and require a variety of applications, UTHSC-H runs many different operating platforms including UNIX AIX, Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows, NetWare and Linux. The University had a home-grown system to integrate user information across multiple directories and databases, but it required time-consuming programming. UTHSC-H wanted a solution that would centralize and simplify user management across all its applications and platforms.
Managing workstations across 12 locations was also a cumbersome process, requiring the IT staff to visit individual machines for every software update. Imaging a new machine could require an hour or more, and the staff could spend a day in a particular location just installing new applications. UTHSC-H needed centralized desktop management to make efficient use of its IT resources.
After evaluating identity management solutions from Microsoft and Sun, UTHSC-H selected Novell Identity Manager and Novell iChain.
"We needed an identity management solution to work across all our applications and platforms," said William C. Schneider, senior systems administrator at the Data Center Operations and Services for UTHSC-H. "With Novell, we can deploy one solution and integrate everything. We could not do that with any other vendor."
Novell eDirectory serves as the organization's central repository of user information for 12,000 users. Novell Identity Manager automatically synchronizes user identity information across connected applications, which eliminates manual updating. The IT staff can now integrate new applications in a fraction of the time required before. They can also create new user accounts significantly faster and give each user a single ID and password.
With accurate user information across its many applications, UTHSC-H can better comply with HIPAA regulations and track who has access to specific information. The organization can easily provision users with proper access, and immediately de-provision users as they leave. UTHSC-H also uses Novell iChain as the front-end authorization to several internal Web sites, authenticating users based on information stored in Novell eDirectory.
"Security is paramount for us and we simply cannot afford a data breach," said Schneider. "Novell Identity Manager helps us ensure that the right people have access to the right information. We can also safeguard sensitive information by automatically revoking network access when users leave."
UTHSC-H used Novell Identity Manager to synchronize user information across multiple platforms and reduce user passwords by 75 percent. Each user now has a single ID and password to access applications, and the IT staff can provision new users 60 percent faster.
"With Novell solutions, we've been able to reduce administration effort, increase security and offer more services to our users," said Schneider.
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