Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) V3 contains several new features around authentication and authorization that make it easier to develop and deploy solutions in Internet facing environments, especially extranets. In the previous version of WSS, all security principals needed to resolve at some point to a Windows identity – either a user account or group. WSS V3 is built upon the ASP.NET 2.0 Framework, which allows the use of forms-based authentication (FBA) to authenticate users into the system. By riding on top of ASP.NET 2.0’s pluggable authentication provider model, you can now support users stored in Active Directory as well as SQL Server, an LDAP directory, or any other directory that has an ASP.NET 2.0 Membership provider. Although WSS V3 will not ship with any Membership providers, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 will include an LDAP V3 Membership provider, and ASP.NET 2.0 includes a SQL Server provider. But if you want to use a directory and can’t find a Membership provider for it, you can write your own! This is a key technology enabler for heterogeneous environments.
Configuring Multiple Authentication Providers for SharePoint 2007