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Cloud Security Perspectives and Insights

Redefining Oracle Identity with Eleanor Meritt

WaiSau Sit
Director of Product Marketing, Security

With the continued transformation that Oracle is making, there have been hurdles to overcome. In pushing past these obstacles, Oracle makes a statement on how serious they are about their identity business by appointing Eleanor Meritt as their new head of development for their Enterprise Identity and Access Management suite. With Eleanor at the helm, a 24-year Oracle veteran, we’ve already seen some of the results of what influential leadership with customer affinity in mind can accomplish. A great example of that would be the latest features release with 12cPS4 of Oracle Enterprise Identity and Access Management suite last quarter.

Now that Eleanor has been in the driver seat for a full fiscal quarter, I wanted to hear from her on how she plans to push Oracle’s identity business to the next level, so I recently sat down with Eleanor to learn about her vision and how she plans to continue improving customer experience.

(WaiSau): Eleanor, you have been at Oracle for over two decades. Tell me why you are excited to take on this role as VP of IAM development?

(Eleanor): In recent years I’ve been leading the global Sustaining Engineering team for database, middleware and Enterprise Management products. A few years ago, my team and I pivoted to a DevOps approach for maintaining this product stack for Fusion Applications. DevOps was a turning point for me. I thought, prior to that, that I understood the meaning of accountability and ownership. The realities of owning a complex system supporting the needs of thousands of customers, with, cumulatively millions of end users, taught me a lot about the importance of automation, diagnostics, monitoring and iterative, Agile approaches to development. But it still felt more “bottom up” for me. I wanted to own the full experience of delivering a market leading product. I now have this opportunity, and I’m loving it and all of the challenges it comes with… I’ve a passionate team of developers, many of whom with decades of experience in building IAM.

(WaiSau): Oracle is a long-time leader in IAM having historically earned customer trust with no other vendor having more technology or experience, however there’s been recent rumors in the market that IAM has taken a backseat. What can you tell us that will set the record straight?

(Eleanor): There is no way that Oracle is disengaging from the IAM market. This market is simply too important for us. Oracle is a leading SaaS provider, as well as one of the top vendors of tooling for application development and runtime management. IAM is intrinsic to the management of applications and is only going to grow in importance, and with industry demands for new IAM functionality increasing, we see a very bright future in this space ahead of us. We have delivered great products in the past, and we are going to build on that track record to meet the rapidly evolving needs of our customers.

(WaiSau): That is reassuring to hear! Can you tells us more about the top priorities for the future of Oracle’s Identity and Access Management suite?

(Eleanor): First priority is to greatly simplify our product upgrades. Upgrades need to happen out of place, with the possibility to seamlessly switch over application traffic to the newly upgraded environment with minimal disruption to service. Configuration data should be stored in the Database so that our Identity applications become stateless. We have largely accomplished all of this with our Access products, but there is still work to be done with Governance. Expect to see Governance upgrades execute out of place with a stateless mid-tier in the near future.

Secondly, we are focusing heavily on making our products Cloud ready. What we really mean by that is that we leverage standard technologies for application deployment and orchestration: K8S and Containers. Our goal is that our products operate equally well in Cloud as well as on-premises environments.

Finally, all new features we roll out will be developed as microservices. We will slowly re-architect our existing technology as micro services so that we can deliver and maintain changes faster. We can expect significant disruption affecting IAM over the next 5 years and we are aiming to have the product architecture in place to support fast development while minimizing risk to our customer base.

(WaiSau):  It sounds like everything is happening with the customer experience and security in mind! It’s safe to say that customers want consolidation of security vendors and functionality with simpler architecture and streamlined management. And clearly, you recognize user experience is critical. What has Oracle done to accomplish just that?

(Eleanor): I’m excited about the opportunity to improve user experience. We have started with simplification of application and user onboarding. Customers will find that 12c IAM is significantly easier in those aspects than 11g. Now we are focusing on improving product upgrades. Next, we will be looking at end user experience, particularly in Governance. We will work on making a more intuitive UI. We will be providing comprehensive Governance analytics capabilities via our new Role Mining service. You can expect ongoing innovation coming from the Oracle IAM team in the realm of user experience. Much of the bones of the underlying technology for IAM is based on Open Standards. The market differentiators for IAM vendors are user experience, ability to scale, and agility in meeting market needs. Under my leadership you will see us laser focus on these three aspects, and we will deliver accordingly.

(WaiSau): That’s great! I can’t wait to see what comes next. If you can sum it up, what is Oracle’s unified IAM approach, and how does it benefit customers?

(Eleanor): Oracle acknowledges that Hybrid approaches to IT management will be a dominant market requirement for at least the next 5-10 years. New applications will be written as micro services, but legacy applications will be maintained for many years. There will be a combination of Cloud and on-premises deployments, and most customers will have a multi-cloud strategy. There will need to be common interfaces across older technologies and new ones. Providing REST endpoints in old and new technologies, and leveraging Open Standard interfaces such as OIDC, OAuth, SCIM, SAML are critical to unified IAM. Many customers tell us they are not ready for Cloud, yet they face the same regulatory and legislative challenges in managing their applications as those who have migrated to Cloud. On-prem customers also want to be able to avail of advanced IAM analytics, ML based risk management, while maintaining privacy requirements for their user base. Oracle is giving equal focus to On-prem IAM use cases as Cloud, with Hybrid requirements as the overarching strategy.

To learn more about what is coming in the next few months, follow the Oracle Cloud Security blog. And join us at the Gartner Identity and Access Management Conference where Eleanor will be speaking on how Oracle is addressing IAM use cases for the Hybrid Cloud Enterprise on Tuesday December 10th at 3:45pm PST (Caesar Palace: Roman II). Oracle will have a booth in the expo hall, and we welcome you to stop by!

 

The preceding is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, timing, and pricing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products may change and remains at the sole discretion of Oracle Corporation."

 

 

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