A supposedly fun thing I’ll probably do again

Once our service provider worked out all the kinks, Phil Becker at Digital ID World and I finally got to record our chat about identity management as a project versus as a lifestyle. There were three major points I took from Phil.

Managing the Project
Phil and I both had agreed that managing your identity project, regardless of technology, is critical. This requires an understanding on all parts: vendor, implementer, and customer. Biting off less than you can chew is the way to go. Further, regardless of technology: access management, password management, user provisioning, etc., you can find quick wins that show real value. I know this sounds like basic project management, and it is, but it is vitally important in identity management.

Policy
Phil and I spent time talking about linking business and identity policy systems and integrating policy engines. Correlating business policy and procedure down to identity management systems is a tough job. Often, it is done by a few individuals who tackle it in their spare time. Tighter integration is needed. However, this requires system to system communication and policy interpretation and this is quite difficult. Furthermore, there has been little work in the vendor community to express policies in a neutral language let alone the transport and transformation of said policy.

Standards
As federation matures, I think we will see more intra-company federations (obviously) and more inter-company federations. Lines of business will wrestle back some freedoms lost in centralization. This will lead to richer policy and provisioning integrations that require richer languages. SPML version 2 is a much needed addition to the tools we have to work with, but its adoption is slow. XRI/XDI is another set of promising work.

Final Thought
By having frank and open discussion between vendors, customers, and implementers, we can chart the course of identity management. As customers deployments have matured, they have pulled vendors along with them. By working through real-world use cases we, as vendors, can truly tackle customer needs.

Recommended Reading
If you haven’t read any David Foster Wallace, check him out. If science fiction is not your speed, take a look at the book that inspired the title of this blog: A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.

Here’s the link to the slides in pdf form… of course, you don’t get my and Phil’s witty banter.

Here’s the recording of Phil and I talking… witty banter included. (Be forewarned our provider only supports IE.)

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Are we just dogs chasing clods of dirt?

I’ve been reading The Blue Cliff Record. Not an easy read, especially for a non-Ch’an Buddhist. Not an easy read for a Ch’an Buddhist. Just not easy.

At any rate, I came across a great note that translators (Thomas Cleary and J.C. Cleary) added:

The image of a dog which, hit with a clod of dirt thrown by a man, ignores the man and chases the clod in anger, is found Kasyapa-parivata; it symbolizes those who are afraid of the delights of the senses and seek deliverance in solitude and quiet – they never really become free because they are dependent on solitude and quiet, becoming every bit as much, and even more, miserable and confused as before when they again come in contact with the hustle and bustle of ordinary life.

The dog ignoring the man, the root cause, and chasing the clod, the symptom, is an obvious thought to turn over in your head. We all can think of people’s actions that exemplify this behavior, even our own. How silly it seems when the example is a dog, but how personal it becomes when we hold this thought-mirror up to ourselves.

A person fearing sensory pleasure hides in solitude and quiet which only reinforces his fear, doing nothing to address the root problem. Sounds like swapping drinking and drugs out for meetings. Sounds like people trying to ghetto-ize themselves in an ever expanding world.

Afraid of the world? Find the specific thing that makes you afraid. Do not run from it or it will only grow bigger and more terrifying. Find that thing. Hold it up for your heart and mind to scour. Then let it and your fear go.