Brian Anderson recently commented on a Wall St Journal article on The Top 50 Gawker Media Passwords. He concluded that the average user seems to either have a relaxed sense of security, a love for Abbott and Costello-like humor, or are just lazy when it comes to identity-related security. So what are smart IT security professionals to do?
As Brian suggested there are new technologies coming to help. One possible source is the Commerce Department, which just launched an initiative to help create more trusted digital identities. Details were in short supply and there is lots of skepticism and questions about the role of government in any sort of national ID program.
But what is important is that the Commerce Department initiative embraces a model that allows companies to “pull credentials” when required from a centralized policy-managed repository instead of relying on individual credentials being “pushed” by the user. The Burton Group sees this public identity infrastructure approach as central to a new emerging architecture where vendors compete in market for identities that provides high-quality identities at lower cost and enterprises focus their Identify and Access Management efforts on developing governance policies that determine what sources of identities are appropriate for their different business processes.
While Burton doesn’t see these consumer repositories replacing Active Directory anytime soon, and I wouldn’t bet on this or any model until it has market traction, in a more diverse world of SAAS, public, private and hybrid clouds, companies need to anticipate the changes this new model will require in the identity management infrastructure, policies and controls.
In the meantime ……well I don’t know, but we will talk about your option in future posts.