Identity Issues Are At A Turning Point

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We expect to hear a lot of discussion about the affect of consumer technologies at the RSA Conference next week. As Charles Kolodgy of IDC said yesterday in the pre-conference analyst call: social networks are where the users are and more so than ever before, the appetite for consumer technology in the enterprise is ravenous. Chenxi Wang of Forrester Research said yesterday that when surveyed, 63 percent of their enterprise respondents are looking at consumer technologies for the enterprise. The problem for companies: Social networks and web applications have historically not been super secure. We think we are at a turning point. The user name, password mechanisms have been with us for a long time but new and better ways for authentication are getting adopted. OpenID and the ability to pass data using mechanisms such as OAuth have been tested and used for data portability between the web and mobile devices. Dion Hinchcliffe gives a good primer on OpenID, OAuth and Facebook Connect in a post he wrote this week about modern web identity. For more detail, Joseph Smarr of Plaxo discussed OpenID, OAuth and OpenSocial in this one-hour talk he gave at Google last year:

This Monday, Project Concordia, the Liberty Alliance, the OpenID Foundation and a host of others will host a full-day workshop on digital identity. Companies participating include Ping Identity, which provides secure, single identity sign on solutions. They recently demonstrated with Google a way to allow access through OAuth-secured Google Apps developer tools. The service will provide Google App developers a way to offer single-sign on for their web services. We think Ping ID represents Wang’s view that web services are increasingly being implemented by companies to streamline and secure identity management for authentication purposes and as a means for secure data exchange and portability. At the event, Ping Identity will discuss identity in the cloud. The subject matter points to why identity is such a connecting point. What does identity mean in the cloud? These are the kinds of answers we’ll be looking for at Monday’s identity workshop.

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