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Cloud Security Perspectives and Insights

  • January 8, 2016

The Digital Passport to Identity - by Greg Jensen

Greg Jensen
Sr Principal Director - Security - Cloud Business Group
During Christmas, I was amazed at the sheer number of risks I was potentially exposing my family to with each electronic gift.  Would my generosity turn to unwelcomed cyber hack or privacy infringement with the “smart” TV application store and registration process? Or maybe the game console with its online network requiring activation?  Would it be my son’s wearable device with dozens of new applications, each with direct access to his personalized identity and health data?  Unfortunately, it’s all of the above.  At least my daughter didn’t get the Wi-Fi connected doll.

This holiday season was exciting and fearful at the same time, but this issue of identities isn’t limited to consumers, it extends to the enterprise as organizations manage their employees, contractors and partners alike. 

As I type this, I am wrapping up the day, working from my tablet at my son’s hockey practice while sipping coffee from the local coffee stand. All made possible with applications securely available from the cloud, accessible over secure connections from public wireless networks.  The office is no longer contained by four walls of the enterprise.  It can be the local coffee shop, a quiet park, or anywhere that provides a new perspective on ideas and creative thinking.  The walls of the traditional office are gone, and today’s network resembles something like a block of Swiss cheese with porous perimeters. The holes created are for extending content and information in a boundary-less world that favors mobile devices and cloud services. 

Today, identity management platforms resemble more of an enablement platform for the digital business where digital identities represent our passport into this world. It binds us to our cloud-based collaborative applications for sharing ideas and content. It opens up a whole new world of information as partners, customers, and colleagues are taking advantage of digital business to create new products, leapfrog the competition and serendipitously innovate.  Without digital identity, we resort to a high risk posture that needs to verify I am who I say I am, and none of this would be possible.  

This has led many users to social sign-on in order to make things easier during the authentication and authorization process. Digital identity is opening new doors for users young and old and we are really at the beginning.

Looking back 25 years ago, it was common for the average user to have only a few identities to manage.  Today, my tech savvy kids for example have close to 25 identities each, all before the age of 18.  According to researchers at Sophos, the average UK resident has no fewer than 19 passwords and 1 out of 3 are not secure.   

Within this landscape, how does business keep up with the growing rate at that our employees and customers scale?  A small business may only need to manage a handful of employee identities; however, they may have 2 million+ subscribers to their cloud service.  Even small organizations can have a complex identity management challenge. 

This is bringing about increased demands and requirements from customers to be able to have one solution for managing one set of user identities across on-premise applications and cloud services.  With increases in complexity come new business requirements such as support for hybrid-cloud architectures, as well as the ability to deliver in a more open, agile and scalable architecture.  All of this with an eye on helping organizations with being better enabled with the digital transformation needs they will face to remain competitive. 

For more information on how Oracle is addressing the issue of the digital passport and managing identity on-prem and in the cloud, visit us at Oracle.com/OracleIdM or The Economist report “The Economics of Digital Identity” sponsored by Oracle.

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