François Lascelles, who is Technical Director for Europe here at Layer 7, has just published an excellent article on Sun’s Developer Network site titled Delegating XML Gateway Runtime Authorization to OpenSSO. It goes into detail about how entitlements in Sun’s OpenSSO can be enforced for Web services, XML, and REST transactions using a SecureSpan Gateway and OpenSSO server.
This combination of Policy Decision Point (PDP)–in this case, OpenSSO–and Policy Enforcement Point (PEP)– the Layer 7 SecureSpan Gateway–is a common deployment pattern for us. Most organizations have already made an investment in Identity and Access Management (IAM) infrastructure; however, this is not sufficient on its own for SOA access control. That’s where Layer 7 can help. Deployed in combination with an IAM system like OpenSSO, SecureSpan does the heavy lifting of XML processing and enforcement, but delegates the access control decision process (and often identity token validation) to the existing, familiar IAM infrastructure. It’s a powerful combination, and one that extends existing investment in IAM into the SOA world.
Over the past seven years, we’ve built connectors into virtually all of the IAM systems out there. When we built SecureSpan, we were careful to build an effective framework for authentication and authorization so that it’s easy to build connectors into different systems. This is important, because unfortunately the IAM marketplace evolved rapidly and without a lot of standardization.
Have a look at François’ article. He’s been with the company since it’s beginning, and has as broad a perspective on this area as you will find.