By David F. Carr  |  Posted 2005-10-01 Print this article Print

NASA has 80,000 employees, and works with more than twice as many scientists and other outsiders. The problem: Those log-ins could be used to access the agency's computer systems after the users have left, retired—or died.

NASA Base Case Headquarters: D St. S.W., Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 358-0001
Business: Space exploration, Earth imaging and aeronautical research
Chief Information Officer: Pat Dunnington
Budget for 2004: $16 billion
Challenge: Establish an agencywide system to track the identities of all computer users.

  • Create one system for managing and tracking the creation, modification and deletion of computer accounts that will encompass an estimated 2,500 applications—most of which today manage accounts independently.
  • Obtain benefits of $116.8 million over the next six years, compared with an estimated $33 million in spending on the integration project.
  • Verify identities of an estimated 275,000 users—80,000 employees and contractors, plus university scientists and other remote users—with accounts on NASA systems. Reduce to zero the unknown number of "orphan accounts" of those who no longer have a legitimate reason for access to NASA's systems.

David F. Carr David F. Carr is the Technology Editor for Baseline Magazine, a Ziff Davis publication focused on information technology and its management, with an emphasis on measurable, bottom-line results. He wrote two of Baseline's cover stories focused on the role of technology in disaster recovery, one focused on the response to the tsunami in Indonesia and another on the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.David has been the author or co-author of many Baseline Case Dissections on corporate technology successes and failures (such as the role of Kmart's inept supply chain implementation in its decline versus Wal-Mart or the successful use of technology to create new market opportunities for office furniture maker Herman Miller). He has also written about the FAA's halting attempts to modernize air traffic control, and in 2003 he traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia to report on the role of technology in United Nations peacekeeping.David joined Baseline prior to the launch of the magazine in 2001 and helped define popular elements of the magazine such as Gotcha!, which offers cautionary tales about technology pitfalls and how to avoid them.

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