Amazon and AWS Moves Further Validate The Value Of Portable Identity

Social sign-in has become a powerful force for marketers and consumers, validating the notion of federated identity in consumer-facing contexts. (Ironic that consumerization of IT is successfully tackling even the single sign-on problem that has bedeviled IT, showing how identity for the top line of the business can overcome resistance in ways that business-to-employee scenarios typically can't.)

But not all consumer-facing federated SSO is social. When I was with PayPal, our team worked on the underpinnings of what eventually turned into Log In with PayPal, which is strictly about federated identity flows for commercial purposes. And today Amazon has come out with Login with Amazon, a powerful statement of Amazon-as-identity-provider. They've been testing this with their own web properties Zappos and Woot; now they're enabling third-party merchants and other sites to use Amazon for authentication of people who already have active Amazon accounts, along with learning a few selected user attributes: name, email, and optionally the zip code of the default shipping addresses. No huge social graphs here, just data that partner eCommerce sites need to function (and make money).

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I'm Shocked, Shocked To Find That Password Sharing Is Going On In This Enterprise

I had the chance once again to do a podcast with Mike Gualtieri as part of his wonderful Forrester TechnoPolitics series, talking about the usability affordances of passwords that make them natural targets for consensual impersonation. As Mike memorably puts it, is this behavior frisky, or risky? Just like in our last podcast together, I found myself confessing deep dark authentication secrets. Take a listen and let me know your thoughts.

Want to win an iPad and get hardcore data on access recertification? Take the UBC-Forrester Access Recertification survey!

Want to know more about Access Certification and Attestation? Would you like to win an iPad and get a courtesy copy of a Forrester report on the findings of a survey on the topic?
 
Forrester is collaborating with the University of British Columbia (UBC) on an Identity and Access Management survey. The main topic of the survey is Access Certification and Attestation, also known as Access Governance. It takes only 15 minutes to complete the survey. In August 2013, Forrester, in collaboration with UBC, will publish the highlights of survey results. 
Here's what we offer for your participation:
 
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CLOUD SECURITY - EXPECT ACCELERATED DEPLOYMENTS DUE TO STRONG MOVES BY PROVIDERS TO IMPROVE SECURITY

Forrester research has always identified security as a major impediment to broad scale implementation for cloud, regardless of the model, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, the adoption rate has been slowed by security concerns. Cloud providers recognize this is an impediment to selling cloud services and in response are strengthening their security controls. In Forrester’s Forrsights® research program we interview over 2000 security decision makers on a variety of security issues and topics. Cloud security tops the list of concerns regarding cloud deployments.

The appetite on the buy-side is very real for secure IT cloud infrastructures. Our research shows a lot of very strong interest in the deployment of private cloud platforms because of the elasticity, reduced cost and cycle times required to deploy solutions in these environments.

This week Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that AWS GovCloud (U.S.) and all U.S. AWS Regions have received an Agency Authority to Operate (ATO) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) requirements. 

Obtaining FISMA Moderate certification indicates AWS’ focus on providing strong security controls for its cloud offerings. Forrester assumes AWS commercial clients could benefit from this as well by AWS security processes propagating to other areas of AWS’ cloud business.

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The Mobile-Cloud Axis Needs A Modern Authorization System. XACML 3 Isn’t It

Andras Cser probed a sore spot in IAM last week with his post, “XACML Is Dead.” It’s a necessary conversation (though I did see a glint in his eye at the Forrester BT Forum after he pressed Publish!). Our Q3 2012 Identity Standards TechRadar showed that XACML has already crested the peak of its moderate success trajectory, heading for decline. We haven’t seen its business value-add or ecosystem grow since then, despite the publication of XACML 3.0 and a few other bright spots, such as Axiomatics’ recent funding round.

It’s not that we don’t need an interoperable solution for finer-grained access control. But the world’s demands for loosely coupled identity and access systems have gotten...well, more demanding. The solution needs to be friendly to open web API security and management. It needs to be friendly to mobile developers. And it most certainly needs to be prepared to tackle the hard parts of integrating authorization with truly heterogeneous cloud services and applications, where business partners aren’t just enterprise clones, but may be tiny and resource-strapped. This admittedly gets into business rather than technical challenges, but every ounce of technical friction makes success in the business realm less likely.

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XACML is dead

Conversations with vendors and IT end users at Forrester's Security lead us to predict that XACML (the lingua franca for centralized entitlement management and authorization policy evaluation and enforcement) is largely dead or will be transformed into access control (see Quest APS, a legacy entititlement management platform based on BiTKOO, which will probably be morphed by Dell into a web SSO platform).

Here are the reasons why we predict XACML is dead:

Lack of broad adoption. The standard is still not widely adopted with large enterprises who have written their authorization engines.

Inability to serve the federated, extended enterprise. XACML was designed to meet the authorization needs of the monolithic enterprise where all users are managed centrally in AD. This is clearly not the case today: companies increasingly have to deal with users whose identities they do not manage. 

PDP does a lot of complex things that it does not inform the PEP about. If you get a 'no, you can't do that' decision in the application from the PEP, you'd want to know why. Our customers tell us that this can prove to be very difficult. The PEP may not be able to find out from the complex PDP evaluation process why an authorization was denied.

Not suitable for cloud and distributed deployment. While some PEPs can bundle the PDP for faster performance, using a PEPs in a cloud environment where you only have a WAN link between a PDP and a PEP is not an option. 

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Forrester’s 2013 Update To The Data Privacy Heat Map Shows Increasing Global Momentum Towards Data Protection Standards

As data flows between countries with disparate data protection laws, firms need to ensure the safety of their customer and employee data through regulatory compliance and due diligence. However, multinational organizations often find global data privacy laws exceedingly challenging. To help our clients address these challenges, Forrester developed a research and planning tool called the Data Privacy Heat Map (try the demo version here). Originally published in 2010, the tool leverages in-depth analyses of the privacy-related laws and cultures of 54 countries around the world, helping our clients better strategize their own global privacy and data protection approaches.

Regulation in the data privacy arena is far from static. In the year since we last updated the heat map, we have seen many changes to how countries around the world view and enforce data privacy. Forrester has tracked and rated each of these 54 countries across seven different metrics directly within the tool. Among them, seven countries had their ratings change over the past year. Some of the most significant changes corporations are concerned with involve:

  • New national omnibus data privacy laws spanning private and/or public industry. Data privacy regulation, when looked at globally, forms a spectrum of maturity beginning with spotty industry or situation-specific laws all the way to omnibus frameworks. As you might expect, responsible corporations prefer to engage in business practices where the data privacy laws are clearly-defined and transparent. For instance, countries such as Brazil and China are in the process of moving towards potential omnibus laws which will replace a multitude of sectoral and situation-based laws. Other countries, such as Colombia and Singapore, have recently passed far-reaching omnibus laws, also replacing a patchwork of prior sectoral laws.
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Adding social network, geolocation, IAM logs, text analytics and link analytics Big Data to the arsenal of Fraud Management

A common theme during this week's SAS and FICO user conferences was how to use Big Data to make fraud decisions faster, more accurately and without impacting the customers in any negative way.

Big Data is basically about 3Vs: Volume, Velocity and Variety of data to gain veracity and value in fraud management. Volume and Velocity are nothing new: fraud management products have long been capable of analyzing terabytes of data in billions of transactions - in real time.

What's really new for Fraud Management about Big Data is Variety. Using all types of new information to make better decisions with lower false positive rates. The new data sources that are increasingly used in Fraud Management are:

  • Social network data. Has this user been writing about committing fraud on Facebook? After seeing how dumb some criminals can be, this data source is pretty important.
  • Geolocation of a mobile devices. The fraud management system should warn ahead of time if a user has been in the same location as the ATM when he/she used her ATM card to empty her bank account)
  • Identity and Access Management systems logs. The fraud management system should warn ahead of time if the authentication system in front of my customer facing system see any evidence of the user logging in from a risky geography or from a new device before the user emptied their bank online by making unauthorized transfers to a mule account)
  • Textual and unstructured data. The fraud management system should warn ahead of time if, for example, a medical provider or insurance adjustor is always using the same combination of terms of "suture removal" or "rear hit accident" in suspicious contexts or just in an excessively repeated way)
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