The regional, cultural and national differences of identity management

* Identity management theory is pretty much the same the whole world over, the differences lie in the practice, or implementation

Last week's European Identity Conference was, as always, a wonderful look at not only European advances in identity management, but what's happening worldwide. I had the opportunity to host panel discussions that included people from Germany, Holland, Sweden, Norway, France, Italy, the U.K., Belgium, Canada, the U.S., Australia and India. It's a wonderful way to discover that although identity management theory is pretty much the same the whole world over, the practice, or implementation, of that theory has many regional, cultural and national differences.

As just one example, on a panel called “Is there a difference between the European way of doing IAM/GRC and the rest of the world?” I was quickly informed that, in reality, it might better be said that the difference was between North America and “the rest of the world.” Two of the panelists, Paul Heiden (founder and CEO of the Dutch company BHOLD) and Darran Rolls (CTO of Texas company Sailpoint), seemed to differ strongly on many of the fundamental issues surrounding GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance), and since their two companies are leaders in that area I can only conclude that there really are great differences in the way that Europeans and North Americans view that discipline.

Equally fascinating was the perspective Dr. Audun Josang brought to that discussion as he’s both a professor of Information Security at the University of Oslo (Norway) as well as an adjunct professor at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane (Australia)! He did confirm that there were differences, by the way.

Martin Kuppinger, Tim Cole and especially Joerg Resch (collectively known as Kuppinger-Cole+Partner) once again put on a great show, one I highly recommend to you all. Not only to my European readers, but also to “the rest of the world.” It’s only through get-togethers like this that we can hope to overcome those differences in perception and implementation of the great identity management projects which beckon from the future.

Martin, by the way, was persuaded to do away with his famous “Birds of a Feather” sessions which in earlier years filled the hall after the formal presentations were done. They were replaced, it appeared, by the even more informal “Beers of a Feather” sessions at local bierstubes and biergartens where identity management issues were thrashed over well into the night. It’s something the folks at Catalyst and Digital ID World should consider!

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