Identity as a Service picking up steam

Seems like the IDaaS concept (as Forrester has named it) is starting to gain some traction in the identity related discussions out there. First there was the Forrester blog post that I mentioned a few weeks ago. Now, Dave Kearns has talked about the roadmap to identity services in this weeks NetworkWorld Security newsletter. In it, he talks about a possible roadmap that enterprises interested in deploying identity services can follow. The roadmap he outlines sort of goes like this:

Virtualized Identity Store -> Provisioning System -> Role Management -> Entitlement Management -> Context-based Access

I can’t really argue with this high-level path. It is fairly logical, though some elements of it can be commingled, and some could argue that role management and provisioning can be flipped (though my experience would say that doing role management before provisioning seems to be the exception that proves the rule). The path is primarily set up by the need to incrementally clean up and improve your enterprise’s identity situation over time, and the earlier parts of the roadmap are dominated by the tools that can help you put some structure in place on which to do some of the more advanced stuff (like fine grained entitlements).

As another sign of the growth of interest in IDaaS, I will be speaking about Identity as a Service at two different venues this month. First, I will be giving a talk on “Understanding Identity as a Service” at the Jericho Forum conference in New York on September 11, part of the Infosecurity NY conference. The Jericho Forum is an international IT security thought-leadership group that focuses on key IT security issues. The concept of Identity as a Service fits in nicely with the Jericho Forum’s focus on “de-perimeterization” in enterprise architecture.

Then later this month, I will be speaking on “Externalizing Identity” at the annual Digital ID World conference in San Francisco (Sept. 24 – 26). My talk is scheduled for the end of the day on Tuesday (9/25), so I am going to have to figure out a way to make it entertaining and relevant. At this session, I will present my view on a roadmap that we as an industry need to adopt to make identity services a reality.

Interestingly enough, I had to avoid using the term Identity as a Service in the title for my DIDW session because of the ongoing terminology issue with that moniker. The DIDW folks use it in the SaaS context, and even have a panel titled “Identity as a Service – Is IdM as SaaS here?” on Monday.

Hopefully all of this is a sign of things to come, as both vendors and enterprise’s realize the moves they need to make in rationalizing the very nature of digital identity.