Privacy Sigma Riders!

A few months ago, I had the honor and pleasure to sit down with one of the most awesome people in Privacy, Michelle Dennedy, Chief Privacy Officer at Cisco, and record one of her Privacy Sigma Riders podcasts. We were in Austin. We were pumped to finally get together. We were heavily caffeinated. And we didn’t actually record anything… save for the last 25 secs of what was a 45 minute conversation. Fail… fail… fail!

So semi-undaunted, we tried again in November. This time we had professionals helping out… and we needed it. Good news is we actually got it recorded! Michelle and I wander about topics of ethics, empathy, how privacy and identity are related, and IDPro, the professional organization for identity management.

Without further ado, check out our conversation on Privacy Sigma Riders!

Why is the Identity leg of the stool missing?

[Many thanks to Gerry Gebel for giving me the nucleus for this post]

In the midst of the ongoing privacy and security conversation, I pointed out last week that identity is the missing leg of the security/privacy stool. Identity is both a means of expressing privacy requirements and a necessary set of security controls, as well as a key to delighting customers and driving business engagement. A colleague pointed out that while security and privacy might be different halves of the same coin, identity is the coin itself. I’m not sure I fully agree with that but it gets to sentiment I have.

The use and protection of identity data has strong footing in both the privacy and security worlds. And yet identity and identity management professionals are not a first class member of the conversation. Why is that? One reason, in my opinion, is because we didn’t expect the industry to stand alone for the duration.

The inevitable absorption into business process that never happened

Speaking as an identity professional, I don’t think we claimed our seat at the table because, in part, we didn’t expect to be around IT for so long. 10 to 15 years ago there was a thought that identity would be subsumed by larger, adjacent business process engines. Human resource management, for example, should have absorbed identity management, at least for employee identity. I still remember the Catalyst In San Francisco where the Burton Group identity team (I was just a newbie in the audience at the time) had Oracle and SAP talk about their plans (or lack there of) for synergy between HRMS and IAM. What was clear to Burton Group was that the systems that managed your job role and responsibilities ought to be managing that in both on- and offline worlds.

Employee identity really ought to be a function of HR and an extension of HRMS’s. In doing so, identity professionals would become the technical arm of HR. Some companies tried this. Some companies put their technical role management programs within HR. Although some companies tried this approach, for political/organizational/cultural reasons, those approaches did not last.

If HR was to be the home of employee identity, then what of customer identity? Looking to the business process engines that manage customer information, one could see CRM systems absorbing customer identity functions. In such a world, the teams overseeing sales, service, and marketing processes would be the voice of the customer and their business process engines would deliver the identity functionality the customer needed.

In both scenarios the job of “standalone” identity management technology and professionals would be greatly diminished. The path forward for professionals in such a world was to become technical HR, Sales, Service, Marketing, etc professionals, acting as business system analysts serving their constituency or delivering architectures and process integrations to allow identity information to flow and be useful. These worlds did not fully materialize. Continue reading Why is the Identity leg of the stool missing?

Identity: The Missing Leg of the Stool

I had the pleasure of representing the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG) at the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Global Privacy Summit this week. Laura Hamady of PayPal, Heidi Wachs of Jenner and Block, and I talked about navigating the maze of online retail. My part in the talk was to illustrate the flow of personal data between the various players in different online retail scenarios. (Here’s a copy of our presentation if you are curious.) Now, as the only non-lawyer in the bunch, and likely the only identity person at the conference, I had a blast pointing out all of the data protection and handling issues that stem from identity interactions.

The movement of identity data between social identity providers, your back-office systems, and third-party service providers is a dance of varying elegance. Regardless of how well those pieces are integrated, the information being shared helps your organization delight your customer. But in order to do so, the customer’s privacy needs and expectations must be met. (Not to mention sectoral and legal data protection requirements as well.)

And that got me thinking. The relationship/dramatic tension/codependence of privacy and security gets a lot of rightly deserved attention. But neither privacy and security professionals can fully meet these challenges in part because their default tools are the wrong ones for the job. What’s missing from the conversation is identity management.

Identity is the missing third leg of the stool. Identity helps mitigate a vast number of security threats including insider threat through the minimization of access. Identity also helps address privacy requirements but governing access control to customer data. In this regard, we can think of identity management as the operational means by which privacy implements some of its required controls. And to be clear I am not saying that identity meets all of the requirements on its own; there are many other privacy controls that require security, and not identity, to meet – traditional data protection and event monitoring being just a couple.

By working with identity professionals, privacy teams can better understand the flow of customer data. They can sharpen the focus of their privacy impact assessments and can more easily identify third-parties provide services and whose terms of service need to be harmonized with the organization’s privacy policy and notices.

Simply put – an organization that coordinates the efforts of its privacy, security, and identity professionals is more likely to not only meet its customers privacy requirements and most importantly, more likely to delight its customers.