Nippon Comsys Corporation
Nippon Comsys recognised that integrated account management was critical to enhancing security. By leveraging Novell® identity management solutions, Nippon Comsys is able to centrally control password and access rights across all systems – improving usability and security, while reducing costs and cutting administrative workload.
Nippon Comsys is a diversified enterprise, with business interests in telecommunications infrastructure services in Japan and overseas, as well as civil engineering services, building construction, and software development. Nippon Comsys employs approximately 8,000 people at three principal locations in Japan.
After moving its Tokyo corporate operations from Shinagawa to Osaki several years ago, Comsys identified a need to rebuild its nationwide communications network. The company upgraded its Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network to IP-VPN accelerated line speeds and full-mesh interconnections, allowing for centralised management of servers throughout the country.
However, the network upgrade did not address the need for users to access different systems. Most employees had to manage multiple identities and passwords, making it difficult and time-consuming to gain access. At times, changes to access rights when employees moved jobs or left the company caused significant disruption to operations. Delays in the creation of new identities for external consultants and employees of partner firms were also potentially affecting productivity.
Efficient account management was becoming an urgent requirement, and security management was also an important issue.
“We had to attend to our Information Security Management System [ISMS],” said Haruhiko Fujimoto, General Manager of the internal IT group at Nippon Comsys. “When we began the ISMS project a few years ago, we quickly realised that integrated account management was critical to enhancing security.”
"The Novell solution greatly simplified administrative processes at Comsys."
General Manager, Internal IT Group
Nippon Comsys began a three-phase project to deliver single sign-on capabilities across its extended network. Comsys first implemented Novell eDirectory™ as the foundation for authentication. The IT group decided against other single sign-on products as they would require management of users at the server level, introducing additional complexity and inefficiency to the system.
As the foundation for some of the world's largest identity management deployments, Novell eDirectory is a high-end directory service that allows enterprises to manage identities and access rights for employees, customers and partners. For Comsys, Novell eDirectory lays the groundwork for secure identity management solutions, directory service administration, and multiplatform network services.
The second phase began six months later, when Comsys implemented Novell Identity Manager. This solution automates user provisioning and password management throughout the user lifecycle – delivering first-day access to new users, modifying or rescinding access across all systems when a user's status changes, and providing access to multiple systems via a single password.
To build its single sign-on environment, Comsys used Novell Identity Manager to create interfaces between the user management system and various core applications, enabling synchronisation of account information. The company also centralised the management of system passwords.
As part of the third and final phase, Comsys integrated two subsidiary companies – Sanwa Electronics and Higashi-Nihon System Construction – into the Novell Identity Manager environment, and implemented Novell iChain® for secure authorisation to Web applications. Novell iChain helps Comsys control the use of digital assets across its extended enterprise.
Comsys also centralised user management in this last phase. This has greatly simplified the management of changes in user rights when personnel move from one role to another. The centralisation has also enhanced accuracy in managing access rights, ensuring that the right people have access to the right systems.
"Novell has also made a significant difference to our business by reducing the time it takes to fulfil requests for new or changed identities. This has helped to boost user satisfaction and increase productivity."
General Manager, Internal IT Group
With a Novell security and identity solution, Comsys has centralised user management with integrated user accounts across systems and unified passwords and access rights. This has both strengthened security and increased user satisfaction.
“Implementing Novell eDirectory has enabled the IT team to maintain accurate user information in our personnel directories,” said Fujimoto. “In this way, the Novell solution greatly simplified administrative processes at Comsys.”
Thanks to Novell eDirectory, Novell Identity Manager and Novell iChain, Comsys has also dramatically reduced the man-hours spent on account management, realising significant cost savings. Novell Identity Manager enables faster changes to user information and access rights, allowing Comsys to set up new employees sooner and with less effort.
With the new solution, Comsys has also cut the time it spends on administration of file/print sharing by almost 20 percent. The company has cut systems management workload by approximately 15 percent, too.
“By synchronising user accounts and passwords across systems and providing Web-based access to applications, Comsys has been able to dramatically reduce the time IT staff spend on user management,” said Fujimoto. “Novell has also made a significant difference to our business by reducing the time it takes to fulfil requests for new or changed identities. This has helped to boost user satisfaction and increase productivity.”