• United States

Convincing upper mgmt. of the benefits of identity management

May 14, 20033 mins
Access ControlEnterprise Applications

* Why the Liberty Alliance Specification is right for your organization

“Who are you?” “Can I trust you?” Roger Sullivan, president of security software maker Phaos Technology, considers those questions to be the two important ones that underscore all business transactions, particularly business transactions on the Internet.

Getting accurate, trustworthy answers to those questions are what the Liberty Alliance project is all about. In a short article ( published by Line56, Sullivan explores the business side of federated identity projects such as the Liberty Alliance scheme.

While most people agree that consumers can benefit from the ease-of-use of the single sign-on model as well as the improved security of the circle of trust design in the Liberty Specification, Sullivan believes that businesses can improve both their efficiency and bottom line by moving quickly to implement the specification with their business partners. Among the benefits he sees are the abilities to:

*Eliminate the costs associated with public-key infrastructure.

*Leverage XML and XML-security standards.

*Link disparate corporate resources with single sign-on.

*Extend internal business models and data to external relationships.

*Be early to market and pre-empt competition with proven open standards-based technology.

Each of these benefits includes a cost reduction either in terms of resources, time or actual monetary outlay. Those of you who are IT managers would do well to bring this article to the attention of the upper management in your enterprise – along with your plan to implement a federated identity scheme. Many within upper management, it seems, still feel that you are not a part of the solution – quite the contrary.

Our sister publication, Computerworld, recently published (,10801,81038,00.html) the results of a Forrester Research survey of 437 business executives which concluded that fully one third of them are dissatisfied with the performance of their IT departments.

Now it’s true that some interpreted those results as good, thinking that 10 years ago at least twice as many execs would be dissatisfied. Since this was the first time the question was posed, though, it’s hard to draw any valid conclusion along those lines. Nevertheless, it’s not good to hear that any significant number of execs are unhappy with their IT departments. Especially when the reasons given include the feeling that their companies lag in the adoption of emerging technologies.

If you’re worried that your upper management feels dissatisfied with your performance, federated identity management as implemented through the Liberty Alliance specification could go a long way towards improving the satisfaction level. A timely project augmented by the words of a fellow exec like Roger Sullivan could even bring you to the top of the satisfaction ladder. They say the view is pretty good from the top of the ladder.