Who offers the “Best Identity Management Solution” on the market today? It will surprise some (who haven’t yet seen the press release) to learn that the over 750 software industry vendors who make up the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) recently gave this accolade to a company much better known for application virtualization, namely Citrix. In fact, in this year’s prestigious CODiE awards, Citrix Password Manager - our solution for centralized password management and Enterprise Single Sign-On (ESSO) to Windows, Web and host-based applications -  won in two categories: “Best Identity Management Solution” and “Best Data Security Solution”. That’s a strong hint of the value of this product in today’s IT environment and a further confirmation of what Gartner concluded in their MarketScope for Enterprise Single Sign-On, when out of 13 vendors evaluated, only Citrix received Gartner’s coveted “Strong Positive” rating. But it might lead you to ask, Why isn’t Citrix better known as an identity management vendor?

Citrix’s important role in the Identity & Access Management (IAM) space is often overshadowed by our pre-eminent position in Application Delivery (application virtualization, application streaming, desktop streaming, web app optimization, etc.). From our perspective, identity management technologies like automated sign-on, password policy enforcement, self-service password reset, and application access control (SmartAccess™) are all part of the complete Application Delivery equation, simplifying the end user’s access experience while improving IT security and regulatory compliance. That’s why Citrix Password Manager is available not only as a standalone product; it also powers the single sign-on capabilities of Citrix Presentation Server Platinum Edition. Identity & Access Management is all about controlling access to IT resources based on the authenticated identity of the user, and that’s a key aspect of Application Delivery in the enterprise.

Similarly, you might not have categorized Citrix as a data security company, yet Citrix Password Manager won the award for “Best Data Security Solution”. Clearly, data security is also a critical aspect of our broader theme of Application Delivery. Password Manager is currently going through Common Criteria EAL2 Certification, which will provide further testimony to the product’s strong security attributes.

So, it just comes down to your own preferred taxonomy of technologies; whether you slot Enterprise SSO under Identity & Access Management or view it as part of the broader Application Delivery problem space doesn’t really matter in the end. The value comes from recognizing that Enterprise SSO is a relatively quick win for any organization whose users are faced with multiple logins and a need for tighter security practices. Without modifying application code, you can streamline access while strengthening security, even making Password Manager the gatekeeper to sensitive applications (users don’t even know the passwords). Through support for standards like SAML for Federation and SPML for Provisioning, and through an extensive ecosystem of Strong Authentication vendors offering a broad array of alternatives for validating user identity, Citrix’s approach to Identity & Access Management provides flexibility for the future while solving the password problems that every organization needs to address immediately.