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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Thursday, October 29, 2020
 

Identity Dialtone

Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, June 12, 2008
6:05 pm

At Sun’s recent New York City Identity Management Roadshow, Jonathan Penn of Forrester Research mentioned the concept of “Identity Dialtone” in the context of Identity as a Service (IDaaS). I find this concept intriguing. We can learn much by comparing the emerging concepts of Identity Services with a tried and true, well-worn system.

For those of us who still use POTS (or Plain Old Telephone Service – what my kids would call “old school” phone service), dialtone is:

  • Highly available
  • Highly reliable
  • Highly standard
  • Easily recognized
  • Simple to use
  • Usable
  • Ubiqutous
  • Critical to our daily activities
  • So commonplace we take it for granted

These characteristics make telephone dialtone an attractive metaphor for describing the ideal state of Identity Services. Shouldn’t services such as authentication, authorization, adminstration and auditing exhibit the same characteristics both for access by humans and other software programs?

  • Highly available. These services are always available – at our virtual fingertips, as it were.
  • Highly reliable. These services simply always work, all of the time. Downtime is highly unlikely. We are startled if failure occurs and feel naked without it.
  • Highly standard. We agree broadly on accepted ways of doing things – even on competing networks.
  • Easily recognized. As familiar as an old pair of jeans. No mysteries here.
  • Simple to use. Any complexity to multiple “standards” is masked by service protocols that are simple to implement and use.
  • Usable. Not just easy to use, but “use-able” – really beneficial to my daily activities. This makes life simpler and more productive.
  • Ubiqutous. So broadly implemented and used that alternate methods seem illogical.
  • Critical to our daily activities. We can’t get along without it. We go home and don’t work if it’s not there.
  • So commonplace we take it for granted. We just use it and don’t give it a second thought.

OK. I’ll admit my sights are set pretty high. But if we are so bold as to compare Identity Services to dialtone, we must accept the high standard of performance we embrace. Telephony dialtone has served us well for many years, and is such an integral part of our lives that we seldom think about what it is and does. Yet it is critical to our personal and professional lives. Identity Services should become the same.

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One Response to “Identity Dialtone”

    Thank you very much!
    Your article is very useful!

    Comment by fake watches on December 19, 2009 at 9:23 pm

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