Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Identity 5.0?

I've often chided Sxip's Dick Hardt's use of the "Identity 2.0" meme as being a few iterations or generations behind. After all, modern identity services began with the establishment of the x.500 directory over 20 years ago. I've been meaning to lay out the various iterations/versions/generations but somehow that project keeps getting pushed further down on the stack. Still, if you wait long enough someone else might do it for you. Someone has.

Novell CTO Jeff Jaffe has posted a think piece calling the current wave of identity the "fifth generation." He lays out each:

  1. Simple access control to applications.

  2. More sophisticated technologies for access control; including multi-factor authentication, biometrics, directories, and metadirectories with synchronization.

  3. Development of technology that provides massive simplification for user provisioning. This is the current generation of identity management that is prevalent in the field.

  4. Integration between different identity management functions. Specifically, this includes support for federated identities (Liberty Alliance) for enterprises, as well as web access management . This is the current generation being shipped and will be the prevalent generation in the field over the next several years.

What's the fifth generation? According to Jaffe, "The paradigm of identity management should change from a focus on authentication to a focus on a multiple services provided by identity management systems and consumed by applications in different ways – through a consistent interface."

In other words, as some others have put it, we need to move the focus past authentication and into authorization, customization and personalization. I don't disagree. But more about that coming soon.

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