What all the Macworld rumor mills missed

Before every major Apple event, a gaggle of rumor mills spin into action. From home media stations, to tablet devices, to spreadsheet applications, to Steve Jobs being declared iMaster of the Universe. Yup, everyone with a crazy idea for an Apple product makes their equally crazy predictions. But, there is definitely one announcement that they did not see coming. Ours.

Today we announced the public availability of our Identity Driver for Mac OSX. Granted, Steve wasn’t on stage talking about it, but we are going to work on that for next year. Okay, okay, so it isn’t an Apple product, but it does run on a Mac.

The rumor mills shouldn’t be ashamed about not anticipating our release. No one expects identity management news out of Macworld. Heck, people don’t expect identity management news about Apple at all. That doesn’t seem right to us. Macs in the enterprise are more and more common. And it’s not just the design staff and the cool people who have them; it’s regular people too.

We have customers with Macs in their enterprise. They wanted to be able to establish pervasive identity in their Mac communities just as they can with their Windows and Linux environments; they required a complete view of their world. Our customers asked and we delivered. And that was that… less getting some new Macs in the office and a bit of development work.

With all the regulatory and operational pressures of todays world, our customers realize that having an incomplete view of the enterprise is unacceptable. A partial audit will only keep your CFO partially out of jail, which gets the CIO partially fired and CEO partially indicted.

All said and done, I am glad we got Apple endorsed this press release. It demonstrates their commitment to enterprise customers. Identity management in the enterprise cannot have any gaps, no clump of disparates users of kinds of machines can be excluded. We are giving our customers complete vision into their enterprise and this new driver furthers our cause.

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Default Security

The creepy thing about this article is not that government websites are using cookies. The creepy part is that most of them claim that they just took the defaults for their web authoring and serving software. We have seen time and time again that simply installing software and letting it run with default settings it nowhere close to a good security practice. With all those Security Configuration Guides out there, you’d figure someone would have read one.

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Truer words were never spoken

Mark Dixon nailed it with his post on software being only a part of identity management. He sums with two great points.

1. Accept the fact that Identity Management projects are inherently complex. This is not because the software to be implemented is complex, but that Identity is at the core of how a business is operated. Many people will use the system. Many disciplines must be involved in making it work.

Everyone out there about to embark on an IdM project read his first sentence. When you are knee deep connecting legacy applications, figuring out which workflow deleted your CIO’s email account, and determining which challenge response questions will pass Legal’s muster, remember that sentence.

Identity being at the core of how business operates is a subtle point. Those of us who have been working with aspects of identity, and certainly those trying to implement IdM products, see how identity is core. But… For the other 98% of the world, this isn’t so obvious. Yes, identity management requires multiple disciplines. People that you never thought would touch the system end up being integral. But I have to disagree… The software to be implement is complex. This is not because vendors have low quality products or difficult interfaces. Just look at provisioning or password management products. Consider that they all have workflow engines, notification systems, cryptographic engines, and data transformation and transportation components. Any of these on their own is a product unto themselves. Just because they are unified components do not make them any less complex. This complexity isn’t inherently bad, but it is something you have be ready for.

2. Don’t skimp on dynamic project leadership. Projects like this, with many stakeholders and inter coordination, demand strong communications skills and relentless, proactive attention to detail.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Good project leadership, especially project managers, are critical. I know a couple… but their utilization rate is higher than their blood pressure.

While I am on the subject of identity management and implementations, I wanted to introduce Mark MacAuley. Mark joined us at the beginning of the year and brings a wealth identity experience along with him. Great to have you aboard, Mark!

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