Strange Acquisitions

There are some acquisitions within the Identity space that come as no surprise. For example, when Sun acquired Vaau as a knee-jerk reaction to Oracle’s acquisition of BridgeStream (sorry, I had to get that jibe in), it came as no surprise. Equally, as the other independent role management vendors get bought up, that will be expected also. The only slight surprises may come from who buys who.

However, every now and again a complete left field acquisition shocks the industry. This occurred at RSA with Hitachi announcing it had bought a major share in M-Tech. Everyone seems to be talking about it. Burton, Digital ID World, Dave Kearns, Bruce Schneier etc.

What next, Amstrad buying Courion? 🙂

Social Networks galore!!

I’m sure like me you are constantly getting invitations to the myriad of different social networking/web 2.0 sites out there. Personally, I have accounts on:

Facebook
LinkedIn
MySpace
Naymz
Plaxo
Del.icio.us
ClaimID
Technorati
and i’m sure there are others……

I don’t have the time to keep all of these up to date, never mind joining any more.

Looking specifically at the number of social networks out there, surely there has to be a point when these must start to consolidate their functionality. I can see it has already starting happening to a certain extent.

LinkedIn is designed for business relationships. Plaxo extends that so you can categorise people as either business or friends. Similarly, LinkedIn allows you to write an endorsement for someone, whereas, Naymz whole philosophy is based on reputation and references.

I don’t see how all of these sites can be sustainable as we move further into 2008.

OpenID in the Enterprise

As always, I am constantly talking to new people about Identity Management in the Enterprise. We always talk about the usual topics; provisioning, authentication, authorisation, audit etc. More and more recently I have been asked by people what my thoughts are on OpenID. Previously, these types of discussions were limited to the hardcore ID people such as the Identity Gang. But now, I seem to be getting asked the question more and more by people within the Enterprise. A number of times it has been people who don’t really understand what OpenID is, other than its one of the ‘new terms’. Others are more informed.

So what do I think of OpenID and its application in the Enterprise……

I think OpenID so far has done a lot for pushing forward Identity 2.0 and has seen a reasonable adoption within the ‘social internet’ (blogs, wikis etc). There is definately a good use case for its application there. However, organisations have not yet really started to adopt this technology. There have been a couple, including Sun who announced an internal OpenID server for employees last year. However, in the main its uptake has been extremely limited.

I have no doubt that eventually OpenID will start to find a place within the Enterprise. However, at the moment, I really can’t see its application within the arena. The problem that I see Enterprises facing when looking at OpenID is the lack of trust in the Identity provider. Anyone can set up an OpenID server (indeed this blog is one) and use it to sign-on to OpenID enabled sites. However, where is the trust that I am indeed Paul Toal when I hit the target site. For enterprise, cross domain single sign-on, federation based on SAML (and the other standards) provides that pre-defined trust agreement. Clearly, what it lacks (and OpenID goes towards addressing) is the user consent.

As long as the trust issue is outstanding I don’t see why Enterprises would adopt OpenID for any transactions of any value (financial or otherwise). There is a big difference from posting a comment on a blog that I have signed onto with my OpenID Identity, to performing a business transaction with an Enterprise partner using my self-asserted OpenID.

The answer to this might be to ensure Enterprises host the OpenID server so that their partners can be assured of trust. However, isn’t that what standard federation today gives us. Do we actually want our employees deciding whether, as an employee their Identity information can or can’t be shared with other business partners?

Maybe I am missing the point (feel free to correct me), but at the moment, I just don’t see where OpenID fits within the Enterprise.

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Back online – hopefully

Its been a while since I last posted and I must admit I am way behind on reading other people’s blogs. Things have been hectic both at work and at home. However, I hope to start being a bit more active on my blog now and get back into the swing of posting regularly.

I certainly have plenty to catch up on.

Thanks for sticking with me!