Earlier this month InfoWorld's longtime product reviewer Keith Schultz posted a favorable review of Forefront Identity Manager 2010 and Active Directory Federation Services 2.0. Here's an excerpt:
Managing user access in businesses today is something like playing traffic cop in an intersection of a thousand roads. From Web-based applications to homegrown programs, from desktop PCs to the latest crop of smartphones, IT has to be able to control access to every sort of resource while allowing users to access them from anywhere and any platform.
A bigger challenge is providing seamless access to applications and systems across corporate or network boundaries. It's no trouble for IT to define and manage user names and passwords on their own network, but it takes more work -- or is nearly impossible -- to extend access to internal systems to numerous external users or to manage local user access to a system outside of their control.
Microsoft has updated Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) 2010 and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) to aid IT in applying identity management across domains and business boundaries. Both of these tools are intended to extend user access control across the enterprise; FIM uses a common platform to tie user, certificate, group, and policy management together, while ADFS provides trust accounts between different networks or organizations. Together, they provide a powerful platform for extending user management beyond the company domain or network edge.