Three predictions for identity management in 2008

* Expect stronger authentication; convergence of federation, role-management and provisioning; and industry consolidation

What will the New Year bring in identity management? From stronger authentication combined with better validation, to convergence of federation, role-management and provisioning, to the expectation of further consolidation in the industry, here are some of my predictions for 2008.

First, of course, very little will change. Five years ago, in the first issue for 2003, I told you the story of Mohammad Asghar, a Pakistani jeweler caught up in a web of identity fraud which mistakenly labeled him as a terror suspect. Issues surrounding verified and validated identities are still with us today. Nothing has been done that would make Asghar’s case any different in 2008. But they may be changing and there should be some major developments in the coming year. Stronger authentication combined with better validation will make significant progress.

“Convergence” has been a big topic of predictions over the past few years so I’ll utter it once again. But this time it’s a different sort of convergence, not the same old protocol convergence of yesteryear, when we predicted that the WS-Federation standard and the Liberty Alliance federation standard will converge. That’s a foregone conclusion now, because without convergence both will become irrelevant and whither away. The convergence I mean is the convergence of federation, role-management and provisioning – along with a soupçon of entitlement management to produce real tools for collaboration across security domains. Mostly this will enable cooperation among groups pulled together from different organizations and enterprises, but it will also be useful within enterprise, educational and government entities to enable safe, secure and usable collaborative environments.

Finally, mergers and acquisitions will pick up once again as Oracle’s competitors in the identity management space realize they keep falling further behind and will need to spend big bucks to create complete identity suites in order to attract and keep major clients.

That’s what I think, anyway. What are your thoughts?

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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