Identity is having its TCP/IP moment

[This is my keynote from Cloud Identity Summit 2015. Unlike most of my talks, this one did not start with a few phrases and then an outline and then a speech and then a deck. This one dropped out of my noggin in basically one whole piece. I wrote this on a flight back home from London based on a conversation with a friend in the industry. Oh, there is no deck. I delivered this as a speech.]

[Credit where credit is due: Josh Alexander gave me the idea for the username and password as cigarettesĀ and the sin tax. Last year, Nat Sakimura around 2 in the morning in my basement talked about service providers charging for username and passwords to cover externalities, and I completely forgot about the conversation. Furthermore, at the time, I didn’t fully track with his idea. I totally get it now and want to make sure I assign full and prior art credit to Nat – the smartest guy in identity, sent from the future to save us all.]



Remember when we used to pay for a TCP/IP stack. Remember when we paid for network stacks in general? Hell, we had to buy network cards that would work with the right stack.

But think about it… Paying for a network stack. Paying for TCP/IP. Paying for an implementation of a standard.

How quaint that sounds. How delightfully old school that sounds.

But it was. And we did.

And now? No one pays for a TCP/IP stack. Or at least no one pays for it directly. I suppose you can say that what you spend on an OS includes the cost of the network stack. It’s not a very good argument but I suppose you can make it.

When network stacks became free (or essentially cost free) networking jobs didn’t go away. I would posit that we have more networking engineers now than we’ve ever had before. Their jobs morphed with the times and changes in tech.

It’s mid-2015 and I think we need to admit as that the identity industry now looks a lot like the networking industry did back then. The standards are mature enough. The support for them is broad enough. Moreover, not taking a standards-based approach is antithetical to the goals of the modern enterprise.

Simply put, identity is having its TCP/IP moment.

Continue reading “Identity is having its TCP/IP moment”