Thursday, May 07, 2009

New School Identity Management?

I'm all for a discussion of changes in the Identity Management world, in fact I encourage them. I think it's a pretty dynamic world. As Mark Diodati mentions in his article "Changing times for identity management" (login required) There are elements of IdM that are established parts of IT infrastructure, and then there is "New School Identity Management, where he talks about Privileged account Management, AD Bridges and Virtual Directories"

All due respect to Mark, who I know has been around the IdM world for some time, but none of these elements should be considered New School and have been around for quite some time.
  • Privileged Account Management - I don't know of an engagement I've worked on in the last 5 years that did not have some concern about the creation and management of both Privileged and Service accounts. If anything, because of their nature, these accounts have a greater need to be created in such a way that they are done according to mandated processes and recorded for audit and review.
  • AD Bridges - While not a technology I've gotten to work with a lot I know that many a mixed UNIX/Microsoft shop consider the Vintella/Quest tools to be indispensable.
  • Virtual Directories - Again, a technology that's been around for a long time. I've been working with Virtual Directory technologies since 2004, where I would commonly show customers how to map information, provide access controls and even used the Virtual Directory as a write back mechanism to supported repositories.
I can say that I'm glad these Identity Management technologies are finally getting their time in the sun. Some of these technologies have not been considered as interesting or sexy since they worked with a subset of users. I think we can all agree that there are more end users than UNIX accounts or system accounts so they should receive some more attention.

However, in the end, the design and implementation of an Identity Management solution must be holistic in nature. Regardless of one's opinion on the New School qualities of the all the technologies Mark mentions in his article, they must all be considered and planned for in the final design.
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