Putting Context in Identity

* An overview of some panel discussions from the 2nd annual European Identity Conference

I had a wonderful time at last week's 2nd annual European Identity Conference in Munich. Martin Kuppinger and his crew at Kuppinger Cole + Partner for putting on an excellent conference, one which I highly recommend you add to your calendar for next year. I'd also like to thank the great guys who put themselves in harm's way (well, harm to their reputations) by participating in the three hour long panel sessions I moderated on the general topic of "Putting Context in Identity."

I had one session on Context and Authentication, Authorization and Risk Management featuring Michel Prompt (CEO, Radiant Logic), John Aisien (Senior VP, Oracle Corporation) and Steve Neville (Director Identity Products & Solutions Entrust). A second explored Context and Governance, Compliance, Entitlement and Roles with the avid participation of Deepak Taneja (CEO, Aveksa), Paul Heiden (CEO, BHOLD Company BV), Kevin Cunningham (President, SailPoint Technology) and Chris Sullivan (Vice President, Courion). The third session was all about Context and its relationship to user-centric identity and was a crowd-pleasing, roof-raising session featuring Novell’s Dale Olds, Sun’s Robin Wilton and NetMesh’s Johannes Ernst.

There weren’t any breakthroughs, but neither were their any fisticuffs as erstwhile competitors worked – almost in unison – to explain the intricacies of their particular niche in the identity management spectrum to a roomful of enthusiastic listeners. And not only were the listeners enthusiastic, they were knowledgeable. At one point I asked if anyone were confused about the difference between Roles and Groups – a question that often occurs when I speak on identity issues – not one hand was raised from the fifty or so people in the audience.

As a show, the European Identity Conference fits somewhere between a vendor show (such as Netpro’s Directory Experts Conference or Courion’s Converge) and the larger, consultants’ show (such as the Burton Group’s Catalyst or Gartner’s ID Summit). There’s a very good mix of vendor and customer presentations along with analyst sessions attempting to explain it all. The venue, the Deutsches Museum in Munich (known as “The Smithsonian of Germany”) was also a real treat. It was the first time I’ve done a presentation from the stage of an Imax theater, to people in very comfortable seats. I worried that the seats might be too comfortable, but everyone seemed to stay awake.

If you find yourself near Munich next spring, you should consider the 3rd annual European Identity Conference. I know I will.

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