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Novell trades passwords for fingerprints at Los Angeles County

Novell Nsure solution enables the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association to go from multiple passwords to one simple, biometric login Solution strengthens network security, relieves the burden on the helpdesk and gives employees timely access to the applications they need

PROVO, Utah | February 3, 2003

For 65 years the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA) has been managing retirement, disability and death benefits for tens of thousands of county employees and their beneficiaries. Over the years LACERA has kept pace with the increasing demand for its services by adding new applications and management systems. Yet the addition of those systems also left LACERA with an access management dilemma, which led the association to a Novell® Nsure™ secure identity management solution.

"After an internal assessment of LACERA's network systems, we recognized the need to improve our access management policies," said James Pu, director of Technology Services for LACERA. "Virtually all of our critical applications had their own user IDs and passwords — requiring employees to log in several times each day, and forcing many of them to write down or share passwords. That created not only a serious security concern, it also made it difficult for our employees to get access to applications and information when they needed it.

"On top of all that, we also wanted to simplify network access and heighten overall security by replacing traditional passwords with fingerprint authentication," he said.

Working with General Networks, a local solution provider and Novell Platinum Partner, LACERA conducted an intense evaluation of vendors and technologies and finally selected Novell to address its secure identity management needs. Deploying an Nsure solution allowed the association to centralize identity management across all of its critical applications, such as Member Services, workflow and imaging, giving users access to those applications with a single login.

LACERA also replaced password-based logins with simpler, more secure biometric authentication. Now when employees log on, they are prompted to enter their usernames, which then initiates fingerprint authentication through a fingerprint scanner. No more passwords to remember or to forget.

By providing single sign-on to key applications and eliminating the security loopholes inherent in password-based security, LACERA is meeting its business goals. "We went from users having to remember several passwords, which had to be changed at least every thirty days, to one simple, unique fingerprint scan," Pu said. "Naturally, network security has been strengthened by eliminating those inadequate methods of password management, and we've also seen a significant drop in support overhead, because our helpdesk is no longer bombarded by password-related issues."

"LACERA's innovative deployment illustrates the dramatic difference secure identity management can make," said Dave Lawrence, Novell vice president of Nsure solutions. "Using Novell Nsure, the association has reduced a patchwork of passwords to one simple, biometric login, providing access to critical applications all across the organization. That integrated access is what Novell's vision of one Net is all about."

For more information about Novell Nsure secure identity management solutions, go to

About Novell

Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) delivers Software for the Open Enterprise™. With more than 50,000 customers in 43 countries, Novell helps customers manage, simplify, secure and integrate their technology environments by leveraging best-of-breed, open standards-based software. With over 20 years of experience, more than 5,000 employees, 5,000 partners and support centers around the world, Novell helps customers gain control over their IT operating environment while reducing cost. More information about Novell can be found at

Novell is a registered trademark, exteNd, Nsure and Nterprise are trademarks, and Ngage is a service mark of Novell, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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