LDAPCon 2013 – a summary…

ldapcon_2013_logo_line_dateLast Monday and Tuesday (Nov 18-19), I was in Paris attending the 4th International LDAP Conference, an event I help to organize with LDAPGTF, a network of French actors in the LDAP and Identity space. ForgeRock was also one of the 3 gold sponsors of the conference along with Symas and Linagora.

LDAPCon 2013The conference happens every other year and is usually organized by volunteers from the community. This year, the French guys were the most motivated, especially Clément Oudot from Linagora, leader of the LDAP Tool Box and lemonLDAP projects, and Emmanuel Lecharny one of the most active developers on Apache Directory Server.

I was honored to be the keynote and first speaker of the conference and presented “The Shift to Identity Relationship Management“, which was well received and raised a lot of interest from the audience.

The first day was focusing more on the users of LDAP and directory services technologies, and several presentations were made about REST interfaces to directory services, including the standard in progress: SCIM.

Kirian Ayyagari, from the Apache Directory project, presented his work on SCIM and the eSCIMo project. Present for the first time at LDAPCon, Microsoft’s  Philippe Beraud spoke about Windows Azure Active Directory and its Graph API. And I talked about and demoed the REST to LDAP service that we’ve built in OpenDJ. For the demo, I used PostMan, a test client for HTTP and APIs, but also our newly open sourced sample application for Android : OpenDJ contact manager. In the afternoon, Peter Gietz talked about the work he did around SPML and SCIM leveraging OpenLDAP access log.

After many talks about REST, we had a series of talk around RBAC. Shawn McKinney presented the Fortress open source IAM project and more specifically the new work being done around RBAC. Then Peter, Shawn and Markus Widmer talked about the effort to build a common LDAP schema for RBAC. And Matthew Hardin talked about the OpenLDAP RBAC overlay bringing policy decisions within the directory  when deploying Fortress.

Then followed presentations about local directory proxy services for security based on OpenLDAP, about Red Hat FreeIPA (another first appearance at LDAPCon) and about OpenLDAP configuration management with Apache Directory Studio. Also Stefan Fabel came all the way from Hawaii ( Aloha ! ) to present a directory based application for managing and reporting publications by a university: an interesting story about building directory schema and data model.

The day ended with a presentation from Clement Oudot about OpenLDAP and the password policy overlay. As usual, talking about the LDAP password policy internet-draft raises the question of when it will be finally published as an RFC. While there is a consensus that it’s important to have a standard reference document for it, I’m failing to see how we can dedicate resources to achieve that goal. Let’s see if someone will stand up and take the leadership on that project.

After such a long day of talks and discussion, most of the attendees converged to a nearby pub where we enjoyed beers and food while winding down the day through endless discussions.

The second day of LDAPCon 2013 was more focused on developers and the development of directory services. It was a mix of status and presentations of open source directory projects like OpenDJ, OpenLDAP or LSC, some discussions about backend services, performance design considerations and benchmarks, a talk about Spring LDAP… As usual, we had a little bit of a musical introduction to Howard Chu‘s presentation.

LP0_1068I enjoyed the Benchmark presentation by Jillian Kozyra, which was lively, rational and outlining the major difference between open source based products and closed source ones (although all closed source products were anonymized due to license restrictions). It’s worth noting that Jillian is pretty new in the directory space and she seems to have tried to be as fair as possible with her tests, but she did say that the best documented product and the easiest one to install and deploy is OpenDJ. Yeah !!! :-)

Another interesting talk was Christian Hollstein‘s about his “Distributed Virtual Transaction Directory Server“, a telco grade project he’s working on to serve the needs of the 4G network services (such as HSS, HLR…). It’s clear to me that telco operators and network equipment providers are now all converging to LDAP technologies for the network and this drives a lot of requirements on the products (something I knew since we started the OpenDS project at Sun, kept in mind while developing OpenDJ, even though right now our focus has mainly been on the large enterprises and consumer facing directory services).

All the slides of the conference have been made available online through the LDAPCon.org website and the Lanyrd event page. Audio has also been recorded and will be made available once processed. And as usual, all the photos that I took during the conference are publicly available in my Flickr LDAPCon 2013 Set. Feel free to copy for personal use.

It’s been a great edition of the LDAPCon and I’m looking forward to the next one, in 2 years !

Meanwhile I’d like to thanks the sponsors, all 75 attendees, the 19th speakers and the 2 organizers I had not mentioned yet : M.C. Jonathan Clarke and Benoit Mortier.


Filed under: Directory Services Tagged: conference, directory, directory-server, ForgeRock, france, identity, ldap, ldapcon, opendj, Paris, photography

The Road To Identity Relationship Management

The Problems With Identity & Access Management

I am never a fan of being the bearer of dramatic bad news - "this industry is dead!", "that standard is dead!", "why are you doing it that way, that is so 2001!".  Processes, industries and technologies appear, evolve and sometimes disappear at their own natural flow.  If a particular problem and the numerous solutions are under discussion, it probably means at some point, those solutions seemed viable.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  With respect to identity and access management, I have seen the area evolve quite rapidly in the last 10 years, pretty much the same way as the database market, the antivirus market, the business intelligence market, the GRC market and so on.  They have all changed.  Whether for the better or worse, is open for discussion, but in my opinion that is an irrelevant discussion, as that is the market which exists today.  You either respond to it, or remove yourself from it.



Like most middleware based sectors, identity and access management has become a complex, highly optimized monster.  Tools on top of tools, to help you get the most out of tools you purchased long ago and sit at the bottom of the stack.  Projects are long and complex.  Milestones blurred.  Stakeholders come from different spectrums of the organisation, with differing goals and drivers.  Vendors have consolidated and glued together complex suites of legacy solutions, built on different frameworks and with different goals in mind.  The end result?  A confused customer and a raft of splinter point products that claim to offer speed and cost improvements to existing 'legacy' solutions.


The Modern Enterprise

I blogged recently about the so called 'modern' enterprise, and how it has evolved to include facets from the mobile, social and outsourced worlds.  Organisations have faced tremendous issues since 2008 when it comes to profitability, with shrinking markets, lower revenues and more stringent internal cost savings.  All of which, have placed pressure on identifying new and more effective revenue streams, either from developing new products faster, or by extracting more revenue from existing customers, by leveraging company brand and building better, more online focused relationships.  All of these avenues of change, rely heavily on identity management.  Firstly, by allowing things like online client registration to occur rapidly and seamlessly, right through to allowing new approaches such as mobile and cloud to be integrated into a single revenue focused platform.

The long and winding identity road - image taken by Simon Moffatt, New South Wales, AU. 2011
Gone are the days when identity management was simply focused on managing employee access to the corporate directory and email server.  Organisations are now borderless, with a continually connected workforce.  That workforce is also not simply focused on employees either.  The modern enterprise workforce, will contain contractors, freelancer and even consumers themselves.  Bloggers, reviewers, supporters, promoters, content sharers and affiliates, whilst not on the company payroll, help drive revenue through messaging and interaction.  If a platform exists where their identity can be harnessed, a new more agile go to market approach can be developed.


Scale, Agility and Engagement

But what does this all mean practically?  New widgets, more sprockets and full steam ahead on the agitator!  Well not quite.  It does require a new approach.  Not a revolution but evolution.  Modernity in all levels, seems to mean big.  Big data.  Big pipes.  Big data centres.  Scale is a fundamental component of modern identity.  Scale, too can come in many different flavours.  Numbers yes.  Can you accommodate a million client registrations?  What about the process, flows and user interfaces that will be needed to manage such scale?  Modularity is key here.  A rigid, prescribed system will result in a rigid and prescribed service.  Flexibility and a loosely decoupled approach will allow system and user interface integration in a much more reusable way.  Languages, frameworks and standards are now much less about vendor sponsorship and much more about usability and longevity.  Modern identity is really about improving engagement, not just at the individual level, but also at the object and device level.  Improved engagement will result in better relationships and ultimately more informed decision making.

Ultimately economics is based fundamentally on clear, fully informed decision making, and if a modern enterprise can develop a service to fully inform and engage its client base, new revenue opportunities will sharply follow.





The Road To Identity Relationship Management

The Problems With Identity & Access Management

I am never a fan of being the bearer of dramatic bad news - "this industry is dead!", "that standard is dead!", "why are you doing it that way, that is so 2001!".  Processes, industries and technologies appear, evolve and sometimes disappear at their own natural flow.  If a particular problem and the numerous solutions are under discussion, it probably means at some point, those solutions seemed viable.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  With respect to identity and access management, I have seen the area evolve quite rapidly in the last 10 years, pretty much the same way as the database market, the antivirus market, the business intelligence market, the GRC market and so on.  They have all changed.  Whether for the better or worse, is open for discussion, but in my opinion that is an irrelevant discussion, as that is the market which exists today.  You either respond to it, or remove yourself from it.



Like most middleware based sectors, identity and access management has become a complex, highly optimized monster.  Tools on top of tools, to help you get the most out of tools you purchased long ago and sit at the bottom of the stack.  Projects are long and complex.  Milestones blurred.  Stakeholders come from different spectrums of the organisation, with differing goals and drivers.  Vendors have consolidated and glued together complex suites of legacy solutions, built on different frameworks and with different goals in mind.  The end result?  A confused customer and a raft of splinter point products that claim to offer speed and cost improvements to existing 'legacy' solutions.


The Modern Enterprise

I blogged recently about the so called 'modern' enterprise, and how it has evolved to include facets from the mobile, social and outsourced worlds.  Organisations have faced tremendous issues since 2008 when it comes to profitability, with shrinking markets, lower revenues and more stringent internal cost savings.  All of which, have placed pressure on identifying new and more effective revenue streams, either from developing new products faster, or by extracting more revenue from existing customers, by leveraging company brand and building better, more online focused relationships.  All of these avenues of change, rely heavily on identity management.  Firstly, by allowing things like online client registration to occur rapidly and seamlessly, right through to allowing new approaches such as mobile and cloud to be integrated into a single revenue focused platform.

The long and winding identity road - image taken by Simon Moffatt, New South Wales, AU. 2011
Gone are the days when identity management was simply focused on managing employee access to the corporate directory and email server.  Organisations are now borderless, with a continually connected workforce.  That workforce is also not simply focused on employees either.  The modern enterprise workforce, will contain contractors, freelancer and even consumers themselves.  Bloggers, reviewers, supporters, promoters, content sharers and affiliates, whilst not on the company payroll, help drive revenue through messaging and interaction.  If a platform exists where their identity can be harnessed, a new more agile go to market approach can be developed.


Scale, Agility and Engagement

But what does this all mean practically?  New widgets, more sprockets and full steam ahead on the agitator!  Well not quite.  It does require a new approach.  Not a revolution but evolution.  Modernity in all levels, seems to mean big.  Big data.  Big pipes.  Big data centres.  Scale is a fundamental component of modern identity.  Scale, too can come in many different flavours.  Numbers yes.  Can you accommodate a million client registrations?  What about the process, flows and user interfaces that will be needed to manage such scale?  Modularity is key here.  A rigid, prescribed system will result in a rigid and prescribed service.  Flexibility and a loosely decoupled approach will allow system and user interface integration in a much more reusable way.  Languages, frameworks and standards are now much less about vendor sponsorship and much more about usability and longevity.  Modern identity is really about improving engagement, not just at the individual level, but also at the object and device level.  Improved engagement will result in better relationships and ultimately more informed decision making.

Ultimately economics is based fundamentally on clear, fully informed decision making, and if a modern enterprise can develop a service to fully inform and engage its client base, new revenue opportunities will sharply follow.





What a great ForgeRock European Open Identity Summit !

Chateau BehoustLast week, ForgeRock hosted its first european Open Identity Summit, in the “Chateau de Béhoust” just outside Paris. For two and half days, our 110+ visitors, a mix of customers, prospect customers, partners and consultants, could attend presentations, meet and greet with ForgeRock employees, have lengthy discussions with peers, exchanging experience or use case scenarios around the ForgeRock Open Identity Stack. All of this in a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

All of the presentations have been filmed and will be available shortly through our web site and the summit page. If you missed the event and want to get a feel of the content, please check Simon Moffat’s review.

As usual, I’ve taken a few pictures of the event.

Thanks to all attendees and sponsors of the event. And see you next year for the second edition of our ForgeRock summits.

LP0_0488LP0_0538LP0_0595


Filed under: General Tagged: conference, ForgeRock, france, identity, ois13, Open, openam, opendj, OpenIdentityStack, openidm, Paris, summit

European Open Identity Summit – Review

This week saw the first European Open Identity Summit hosted by identity management vendor ForgeRock [1].  Following hot on the heels of the US summit, that was in Pacific Grove, California in June, the sold out European event, brought together customers, partners, vendors and analysts from the likes of Salesforce, Deloitte, Forrester and Kuppinger Cole amongst others.

Whilst the weather was typically October-esque, the venue was typically French chateau, set in panoramic grounds, with great hosting, food and wine to keep everyone in a relaxed mood.

The agenda brought together the key themes of the modern identity era, such as standards adoption (XACML, SAML2, OAuth2, OpenID Connect, SCIM), modern implementation approaches (JSON, API, REST) through to the vision for modern identity enablement for areas such as mobile and adaptive authentication, all whilst allowing customers and partners a chance to collaborate and swap war stories with some great networking.


Consumer Identity As A Revenue Generator

I have discussed the evolution of identity management on several occasions over the years (not least in August!), with the current iteration seeing a strong focus on utilising the identity of the consumer, as an approach to help drive new and existing revenue, for services and applications.  By capturing consumer identity details, either via portal facing registration systems, or making services available online, brand stickiness can be increased and a more relationship based approach can be developed. Developing platforms for consumer focused identity, requires several key components, mainly scale, modularity and agility.


Salesforce Expand Identity Offering

One of the key announcements at the summit was the expansion of the identity offering, by CRM software as a service giants, Salesforce.  With the Identity Connect platform, Salesforce and ForgeRock have entered into an OEM agreement, where the ForgeRock Open Identity Stack is used to enable the Salesforce solution to allow enterprises to seamlessly integrate with existing on-premise identity directories, with additional SSO capabilities.  Salesforce hope the solution will accelerate the onboarding of new and existing client accounts into their portfolio of online services. This is yet another example of organisations seeing customer identity as a key strategic component of business enablement and revenue generation.


Passwords Are Dead...Long Live The Password!

One of this years keynote speakers was Forrester's Eve Maler.  Always an articulate presenter, Eve dropped the bombshell that 'passwords are dead...'.  Whilst this isn't probably the most surprising announcement in the identity and infosec worlds, there is still to be defined, a clear way to replace the use of passwords as an authentication mechanism.  This is a topic I have blogged on multiple occasions (The Problem With Passwords Again, Still - Oct 2012, The Password Is Dead (Long Live The Password) - Feb 2012, Passwords And Why They're Going Nowhere - Mar 2013).  The failures of password use, storage and implementation are well known, but they are now too well embedded technically and psychologically, that a simple passage to something resembling biometric sustainability is somewhat remote.  Answers on a postcard with how that can be obtained!


The Future is Bright

Everyone loves modern - modern art, modern fashion, cutting edge music, the latest tech gadgets, but where does that leave modern identity management?  Modern in this respect, shouldn't just be focused on the new and shiny.  It needs to be focused on the new and useful.  Mobile devices are clearly the key component for information access, either via smart phones or tablets.  The desktop is dead and the laptop not far behind.  Modern identity needs to integrate seamlessly with mobile devices, utilising native technologies and loosely coupled REST based APIs and integration points.  Modern identity must also be convenient and easy to use.  Security in general is bypassed when too restrictive or complex and modern identity is no different.  For authentication and authorization processes to be effective, they need to convenient, good looking and easy to use.


The summit was a great event, that produced some interesting and thought provoking discussions, highlighting identity management as a key component of many organisations' go-to-market approach for 2014 and beyond.


[1] - For audience transparency, the author is employed by ForgeRock.

European Open Identity Summit – Review

This week saw the first European Open Identity Summit hosted by identity management vendor ForgeRock [1].  Following hot on the heels of the US summit, that was in Pacific Grove, California in June, the sold out European event, brought together customers, partners, vendors and analysts from the likes of Salesforce, Deloitte, Forrester and Kuppinger Cole amongst others.

Whilst the weather was typically October-esque, the venue was typically French chateau, set in panoramic grounds, with great hosting, food and wine to keep everyone in a relaxed mood.

The agenda brought together the key themes of the modern identity era, such as standards adoption (XACML, SAML2, OAuth2, OpenID Connect, SCIM), modern implementation approaches (JSON, API, REST) through to the vision for modern identity enablement for areas such as mobile and adaptive authentication, all whilst allowing customers and partners a chance to collaborate and swap war stories with some great networking.


Consumer Identity As A Revenue Generator

I have discussed the evolution of identity management on several occasions over the years (not least in August!), with the current iteration seeing a strong focus on utilising the identity of the consumer, as an approach to help drive new and existing revenue, for services and applications.  By capturing consumer identity details, either via portal facing registration systems, or making services available online, brand stickiness can be increased and a more relationship based approach can be developed. Developing platforms for consumer focused identity, requires several key components, mainly scale, modularity and agility.


Salesforce Expand Identity Offering

One of the key announcements at the summit was the expansion of the identity offering, by CRM software as a service giants, Salesforce.  With the Identity Connect platform, Salesforce and ForgeRock have entered into an OEM agreement, where the ForgeRock Open Identity Stack is used to enable the Salesforce solution to allow enterprises to seamlessly integrate with existing on-premise identity directories, with additional SSO capabilities.  Salesforce hope the solution will accelerate the onboarding of new and existing client accounts into their portfolio of online services. This is yet another example of organisations seeing customer identity as a key strategic component of business enablement and revenue generation.


Passwords Are Dead...Long Live The Password!

One of this years keynote speakers was Forrester's Eve Maler.  Always an articulate presenter, Eve dropped the bombshell that 'passwords are dead...'.  Whilst this isn't probably the most surprising announcement in the identity and infosec worlds, there is still to be defined, a clear way to replace the use of passwords as an authentication mechanism.  This is a topic I have blogged on multiple occasions (The Problem With Passwords Again, Still - Oct 2012, The Password Is Dead (Long Live The Password) - Feb 2012, Passwords And Why They're Going Nowhere - Mar 2013).  The failures of password use, storage and implementation are well known, but they are now too well embedded technically and psychologically, that a simple passage to something resembling biometric sustainability is somewhat remote.  Answers on a postcard with how that can be obtained!


The Future is Bright

Everyone loves modern - modern art, modern fashion, cutting edge music, the latest tech gadgets, but where does that leave modern identity management?  Modern in this respect, shouldn't just be focused on the new and shiny.  It needs to be focused on the new and useful.  Mobile devices are clearly the key component for information access, either via smart phones or tablets.  The desktop is dead and the laptop not far behind.  Modern identity needs to integrate seamlessly with mobile devices, utilising native technologies and loosely coupled REST based APIs and integration points.  Modern identity must also be convenient and easy to use.  Security in general is bypassed when too restrictive or complex and modern identity is no different.  For authentication and authorization processes to be effective, they need to convenient, good looking and easy to use.


The summit was a great event, that produced some interesting and thought provoking discussions, highlighting identity management as a key component of many organisations' go-to-market approach for 2014 and beyond.


[1] - For audience transparency, the author is employed by ForgeRock.

The Evolution of Identity & Access Management

Identity and access management is going through a renaissance.  Organisations, both public and private have spent thousands of hours (and dollars) implementing and managing infrastructure that can manage the creation of identity information, as well as management of the authentication and authorization tasks associated with those identities.  Many organisations do this stuff, because they have to.  They're too large to perform these tasks manually, or perhaps have external regulations that require that they have a handle on the users who access their key systems. But how and why is all this changing?



The Enterprise and The Perimeter

Changing Identities
15 years ago, identity and access management was focused on stuff that happened within the corporate firewall.  Employees joined the company, were entered into the payroll system and 'IT' set them up on the necessary systems they needed.  That setup process was often manual, inconsistent and perhaps involved several different application and system owners and administrators.  IT being IT, would look to try and automate that account creation process.  This was driven partly by business benefits (new employees don't need to wait 3 days for to get working) and also the costs savings associated with migrating manual tasks to a centralised provisioning system.


Cloud, Services & The Modern Enterprise

Organisations are not the same as they were 15 years.  I talked about this recently with the onset of the 'modern' enterprise.  What does that mean?  Due to economic changes and changes in working patterns,  organisations are now multifaceted complex beasts.  No one team or department can be associated with a single process or business function.  Supply chains are now swollen by outsourced providers, all rapidly engaged and critical to short term product launches or business deliverables.  These business changes rely heavily on an agile identity management and authentication infrastructure, that can not only quickly engage new partners or suppliers, but also track, authorize, audit and remove users when they are no longer required or a partner contract expires.

Continually Connected

Identity from a consumer sense has also altered.  More and more individuals have an identity context on line.  That could be something like a Facebook or LinkedIn account, right through to personal email, banking and ecommerce as well as consumer outsourced services such as Spotify, Kindle books or iTunes.  Individuals are embracing applications and services that can give them non-physical access to experiences or data stores, all centred about their own identity.  These online consumer identities are only as valid of course, if the identity owner is able to connect to those services and sites.  That connectivity is now ubiquitous, making life experiences richer, whilst increasing demands for consumer scale infrastructure.

Standards and More Standards

I recently watched the Gartner on demand catch up series of the recent Catalyst event, that was neatly titled the "Identity Standards Smackdown".  A panel of 5 leading identity go-getters, represented some of the emerging and long standing IAM standards, promoting their worth in the current landscape.  The five represented were OAuth2, SCIM, XACML, OpenID Connect and SAML2.  The details of each are all varied and there are numerous pro's and con's to each.  What is interesting, is that we are now at a position where all of these standards are now playing a part in both public and private enterprise adoption, acting as catalysts for new service offerings by services and software vendors, as well as acting as a yardstick to aid comparisons, maturity metrics, interoperability and more.

The standards all play slightly different parts in the provisioning, authentication and authorization life cycle, but the healthy debate goes to show the both end user and vendor interest in this space is as hot as it has even been.

By Simon Moffatt

The Evolution of Identity & Access Management

Identity and access management is going through a renaissance.  Organisations, both public and private have spent thousands of hours (and dollars) implementing and managing infrastructure that can manage the creation of identity information, as well as management of the authentication and authorization tasks associated with those identities.  Many organisations do this stuff, because they have to.  They're too large to perform these tasks manually, or perhaps have external regulations that require that they have a handle on the users who access their key systems. But how and why is all this changing?



The Enterprise and The Perimeter

Changing Identities
15 years ago, identity and access management was focused on stuff that happened within the corporate firewall.  Employees joined the company, were entered into the payroll system and 'IT' set them up on the necessary systems they needed.  That setup process was often manual, inconsistent and perhaps involved several different application and system owners and administrators.  IT being IT, would look to try and automate that account creation process.  This was driven partly by business benefits (new employees don't need to wait 3 days for to get working) and also the costs savings associated with migrating manual tasks to a centralised provisioning system.


Cloud, Services & The Modern Enterprise

Organisations are not the same as they were 15 years.  I talked about this recently with the onset of the 'modern' enterprise.  What does that mean?  Due to economic changes and changes in working patterns,  organisations are now multifaceted complex beasts.  No one team or department can be associated with a single process or business function.  Supply chains are now swollen by outsourced providers, all rapidly engaged and critical to short term product launches or business deliverables.  These business changes rely heavily on an agile identity management and authentication infrastructure, that can not only quickly engage new partners or suppliers, but also track, authorize, audit and remove users when they are no longer required or a partner contract expires.

Continually Connected

Identity from a consumer sense has also altered.  More and more individuals have an identity context on line.  That could be something like a Facebook or LinkedIn account, right through to personal email, banking and ecommerce as well as consumer outsourced services such as Spotify, Kindle books or iTunes.  Individuals are embracing applications and services that can give them non-physical access to experiences or data stores, all centred about their own identity.  These online consumer identities are only as valid of course, if the identity owner is able to connect to those services and sites.  That connectivity is now ubiquitous, making life experiences richer, whilst increasing demands for consumer scale infrastructure.

Standards and More Standards

I recently watched the Gartner on demand catch up series of the recent Catalyst event, that was neatly titled the "Identity Standards Smackdown".  A panel of 5 leading identity go-getters, represented some of the emerging and long standing IAM standards, promoting their worth in the current landscape.  The five represented were OAuth2, SCIM, XACML, OpenID Connect and SAML2.  The details of each are all varied and there are numerous pro's and con's to each.  What is interesting, is that we are now at a position where all of these standards are now playing a part in both public and private enterprise adoption, acting as catalysts for new service offerings by services and software vendors, as well as acting as a yardstick to aid comparisons, maturity metrics, interoperability and more.

The standards all play slightly different parts in the provisioning, authentication and authorization life cycle, but the healthy debate goes to show the both end user and vendor interest in this space is as hot as it has even been.

By Simon Moffatt

ForgeRock Open Identity Summit comes to Europe…

Join us for the Open Identity Stack Summit Europe, on 14-16 October 2013 at the Domaine de Béhoust, France.

We will be gathering at ForgeRock’s luxe Chateau, Domaine de Béhoust (just outside Paris), where our Open Identity Stack community will delve into OpenAM, OpenIDM, and OpenDJ best practices, use cases, how-tos, and more.

We’ve been saying for a long time that identity & access management (IAM) must be reconstructed to adapt to today’s problems. Modern APIs, standards, scale, speed, and modular architecture are all needed for successful modern IAM deployments. The agenda will include dynamic working sessions addressing the latest IAM developments, including mobility, identity bridge, and customer case studies.

A call for papers is open. If you are doing something interesting with the Open Identity Stack and you would like to share the experience by presenting a session at the summit, send your proposal by September 4.

ForgeRock’s chateau is large, but registration is limited. Therefore, I encourage you to reserve your spot and register quickly !

If you want to get a feel of the atmosphere of the conference, check the photo album from the first ForgeRock Open Identity Summit or get a glimpse at the skills of one of our keynote speakers :
LP0_8856I hope to see you at ForgeRock’s chateau in October !

 


Filed under: General Tagged: conference, europe, ForgeRock, france, identity, openam, opendj, OpenIdentityStack, openidm, opensource, summit

The Rise & Protection of the API Economy

Nearly every decent web site and application will have an application programming interface (API) of some sort.  This may simply be another interface into the applications most advanced administrative controls, controls which perhaps are used by only 5% of users and would clutter up even the most clearly designed user interfaces.  To make those controls open to end users, they have traditionally been exposed in a programmatic manner, that only deep technologists would look at or need to use.  In addition, those API's were probably only ever exposed to private internal networks, where their protection from a security perspective was probably less of a concern.




API's Today

As more organizations (and consumers of course) leverage applications and services online, there is an increasing percentage of web based API's.  A quick book search on Amazon produces over 200  results with regards to their design.  Undergraduate computer science courses will often have a module on basic web programming, with the simplest examples now choosing to build out an API instead of a full blown user interface driven application.  Many consumer focused applications and social networking sites such as Twitter, Google and Facebook, all lean heavily towards API level features.


Why They're Popular

For the likes of the consumer focused social networking platforms, API's provide a powerful tool to promote developer adoption.  Increased developer adoption for the likes of Facebook, increase the attractiveness of the service being offered, especially if more versions of Angry Birds or Candy Crush are being released.  API's in this framework, are all about certain features and ease of use. The premise is focused on being able to expand and extend the underlying platform as quickly and simply as possible, using a variety of client libraries and languages.

From a more business focused web application, API's are more focused on integration, interoperability and customization.  Integration with regards to owned business logic and process, interoperability with regards to underlying system and language differences and customization, perhaps relating to user experience.

Many web services in general could be argued to be solely API driven.  Sites like the Google owned VirusTotal, which provides a virus checking aggregation service, can be accessed using a user interface or API.  The same could be applied to Google itself

Why They Need Protecting

As web services and applications switch to becoming more engine like in nature, with limited or no user interface at all, the protection of the underlying API becomes more important.  The increased popularity of REST as architecture for web API development, provides not only an increased ease of use for developers, but also simpler touch points for the authentication and authorization of endpoint clients.  Knowing which clients are accessing your API is critical, as is being able to restrict their access to certain features or URL's.

Like with many security related aspects, externalising the authentication and authorization aspect away from core API feature management, allows developers to focus on core use cases and consumer and business value, without worrying about security.


By Simon Moffatt