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Weblogic: Article

WebLogic Application Security

WebLogic Application Security

My house has bars on its windows. Yes, bars. I am sure at some point in the life of the 110-year-old house, they served a functional purpose. Surely, if I were a robber, I'd be more motivated to look elsewhere for my next DVD player to steal, but the bars are more decorative, just ornamental now. If I were truly concerned about security, I'd get myself a modern home security system with all the bells and whistles like motion detectors and night vision cameras. Technology has really bolstered the security for homes in the past decade.

Similarly, application security has come a long way in the past few years, pushed by a rise in Internet usage and an increase in use of and reliance on corporate systems. Thankfully it has not taken a century to progress like my home's security. Companies such as Entegrity, Netegrity, and Tivoli (now an IBM software division) have done well to push security beyond purely data security and into the Web application and Web services layers.

Application security is something that can never stop progressing. As hacker techniques evolve, you need to constantly reevaluate your application security requirements and controls. How do you stay ahead of the game with regard to security? The build-versus-buy discussion rears its ugly head when you're determining what approach to take. Choosing a vendor for its security infrastructure will help you remain on top of the latest security enhancements with minimal effort from your development resources. However, in my opinion, taking a roll-your-own approach to security isn't bad, if you're only rolling a portion of the security and you roll it right. For instance, don't write your own SSL capabilities! But, if your application has unique requirements, then write a custom security domain. Just be sure your solution will be flexible enough to integrate with your middleware correctly.

Security integration is a necessary evil in today's application space as departmental applications are pushed to greater visibility in the enterprise and different vendors' ERP systems are connected to each other or exposed through custom Web applications. I believe the BEA WebLogic Platform has a compelling security infrastructure in its 7.0 release. The platform provides pluggable security domains for NT, Unix, LDAP, and RDBMS, as well as the ability to provide your own custom domain. Also, BEA's support for Java standards has enabled a best-of-breed approach toward security infrastructure. Entegrity's (www.entegrity.com) AssureAccess takes advantage of BEA's new implementation of the Java SSPI (security service provider interface) and provides an out-of-the-box custom security realm for BEA WebLogic Platform applications. It also provides a Java API, a JSP tag library for easy script security calls from your JSPs, and a Servlet 2.3-compliant servlet filter for even more complex security control.

This month, WLDJ focuses on the BEA WebLogic Platform and security. Our articles include an introduction to JAAS (Java Authentication and Authorization Service), new in JDK 1.4; and how to build your own custom login module for JAAS. Also, we're starting a new column from the "Office of the CTO," this month on the importance of application architecture.

Take a look at the new security model in 7.0 for yourself. It's a compelling solution for securing your enterprise content and services. For me, I think I'll stick to bars on my windows and maybe a "nice" dog - you know, like a pit bull or a German shepherd.

More Stories By Jason Westra

Jason Westra is the CTO of Verge Technologies Group, Inc. (www.vergecorp.com). Verge is a Boulder, CO based firm specializing in eBusiness solutions with Enterprise JavaBeans.

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