Much like Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law have fueled the utility of computing and networking industries over the past few decades, I’ve observed something else about the forward-moving nature of networking that seems to be rooted in some sort of universal law. Computers are driven to increasingly complex forms of networking to improve intelligence, efficiency, and productivity. Once networked, they never go back. Like life itself, computing is evolving into a higher form organism. With each new inter-connection, the whole system becomes smarter and more powerful. And we’re not just talking PC to PC, or smartphone to smartphone, it’s everything in between, including servers and APIs that connect people and things, consumers and enterprise.
Networking hates friction
While computing is driven to network, one of the biggest problems it introduces is how to secure each domain (e.g. protecting stuff behind the firewall), while simultaneously enabling transactions between the domains. It’s this last statement where we still have a massive problem today.
Networks hate friction. Today, we have a lot of friction in how we secure the known and authorized transactions from the unknown and unauthorized transactions that span multiple domains.
The problem manifests as one of identity. For lack of a more universal notion of identity that spans the Internet, we have a fragmented sense of identity that needs to be instantiated every time we hit a new website in the form of redundant logins.
Why can’t a user’s ‘identity’ simply follow a transaction seamlessly and transparently as we move from website to website? Why is it we can’t simply authenticate once to our mobile phone and with technologies such as near-field communication and advanced authentication, navigate both our physical and virtual worlds with both security and convenience?
These types of fundamental questions continue to pose challenges today:
- How can an enterprise secure itself when its borders have dissolved and its users are on personal devices, accessing company data through AT&T’s network that is hosted by SaaS providers?
- How can people enjoy new devices and services without creating a million new user accounts?
- How can we provide a more contextually aware service layer that respects privacy, but enables appropriate access based on identity?
- How can we personalize our experiences with vendors without every experience being a one-off?
- How can we eliminate passwords, the weak link of network security?
Why isn’t identity recognized as the keystone to so many of these challenges? As it turns out, realizing the potential of many of the disruptions we’re experiencing both as consumers and as enterprises is, in some manner, dependent on a better identity system – one that defines who can do what, when, and where, irrespective of device, network, or application.
An identity-aware network — pure awesomeness
Just think of the implications of an identity-aware network. The network recognizes you, reorients itself to your preferences, and secures you as you move seamlessly across borders. How will it change the way you do business with your customers — when you can actually know and engage them, for the right reasons, at the right time, in the right channel, with their permission, in real-time? How can you better engage your channel and your partners if you’re able to integrate critical applications and know they are secure, without you maintaining thousands of identities that aren’t yours?
Identity is the way forward, the great enabler that fuses convenience and security.
Along the way, we’ll fix the password problem and offer some sanity to a world that’s become completely virtualized, with users, apps, and data living everywhere, yet connected and secured at the same time.
Introducing the cloud identity summit
If you’re feeling the pain of the above, or are intrigued by the opportunities presented through identity, become a part of the solution at Ping Identity’s fourth annual Cloud Identity Summit (July 8-12 in Napa Valley). We’re helping to define the future of security in a world where identity is the new perimeter.
Working with Mark Diodati in Ping’s CTO Office (formerly a Burton Group & Gartner Analyst covering Identity Management), we have personally curated the content for CIS 2013. I’m proud to say that it has become a gathering point for the best minds working to advance identity from both a technology and implementation standpoint. This year, the industry stands on the cusp of another significant breakthrough as we look to lay the final pieces on an identity layer for the Internet.
“As members of the identity community, we have a chance to do something dramatic in our lifetime,” Bob Blakley, global head of information security innovation at Citigroup, told Summit attendees last year in reference to the emerging National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. “Conferences like the Cloud Identity Summit represent important opportunities to foster that effort.”
In addition, the event will include sessions and panels from industry luminaries in the field of identity and leading practitioners in the enterprise sharing their experiences, such as:
- Dan Levin, Chief Operating Officer, Box (@DanAtBox)
- Ray Wang, Principal Analyst & CEO, Constellation Research (@rwang0)
- Bob Blakley, Global Head of Information Security Innovation, Citigroup (@bobblakley)
- Colin Kincaid, Vice President, Networking Software, Cisco
- Pat Patterson, Principal Developer Evangelist, Salesforce.com (@metadaddy)
- Eric Sachs, Product Manager, Google
- Patrick Harding, Chief Technology Officer, Ping Identity (@patrickharding)
- Sameer Bhalotra, COO, Impermium, and Former White House Senior Director for Cyber Security (@sameerbhalotra)
Along with numerous sessions in which professionals learn and discuss the latest in identity, families are encouraged to attend as well, taking advantage of the on-site entertainment for children and family-centric social events in the evenings.
Please join us at Napa Valley’s Meritage Resort July 8-12 to see and hear how identity is vital to realizing the future we all envision. Registration is now open at the Cloud Identity Summit 2013 website. We’d love to see you there.
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