Thursday Jan 28, 2010

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night

Well, my friends, it is time for me to say goodbye. It's been a wonderful 5 years at Sun. As many probably suspected, I will not be joining the Oracle Identity team.

These past five years have been the best professional experiences in my life. I had a blast working with the Java Enterprise System team and Sun's systems management team, but nothing beats my experience working with the most talented Identity Management team in the world. Oracle is inheriting THE BEST Identity products available and I wish them luck on their strategy and direction.

Although I'm very happy that this process has finally come to a close, I am sad to see Sun fading away. I believe the environment that Sun fostered was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I appreciate the experience and have tremendous gratitude for all that it offered me.

If you want to continue following my blog, I plan to continue to write on identity at Also, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Thursday Jan 21, 2010

EU Clears Oracle-Sun Deal

Wow. It's finally here. I know it's a good thing that this is closing, but can't help but feel sad. Despite all of its problems, I don't think we will ever see an amazing company like Sun again. A few more days to "assimilation."

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of US hardware and software vendor Sun Microsystems Inc. by Oracle Corporation, a US enterprise software company. After an in-depth examination, launched in September 2009 (see IP/09/1271 ), the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Read Press Release

Also, remember to check out my new blog at

Thursday Jan 14, 2010

New Blog at

Today, I imported all entries from this blog into my new WordPress blog at I'm using GoDaddy to host and installed my own instance of Wordpress. I plan to double-post content to both sites for the forseeable future. Figured it was time to have my own space to blog so I could be more irreverent then ever!


Sun Webcast Series - Identity Manager and Role Manager Product Update

Register for this free Webinar to learn more about the latest identity administration advancements for Identity Manager and Role Manager, including:

\* One-click enablement of compliant provisioning
\* Integrated role assignment
\* Preventative, real-time segregation of duties (SoD) policy enforcement

Topic: Sun Webcast Series - Identity Manager and Role Manager Product Update
Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Time: 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm ET / 19.00 CET (check my timezone)
Duration: 1 hour
Speaker: Sun Product Manager Mat Hamlin

Friday Jan 08, 2010

Express Scripts Accelerates Provisioning by up to 64% with Sun Identity Management

On the customer front -- Express Scripts has deployed Sun's Identity Management Portfolio to implement a centralized identity management solution that automates provisioning for more than 100 systems based on an employee’s job function or operational role. The solution has created a centralized identity directory that maps multiple corporate identities on disparate systems that are each associated with a single employee.

Here's a link to the customer success story

You can also read more identity customer success stories here.

Tuesday Dec 22, 2009

IDM Buzz Podcast: ROA, OAuth, REST Services and OpenSSO

Last week I had the opportunity to record an IDM Buzz Podcast with Michael Cote of Redmonk and Jamie Nelson, Sun's Director of Engineering for OpenSSO.

In this episode we discuss the latest OpenSSO Express 9 launch and our new Fine-Grained Authorization (FGA) capabilities. We also explain why we chose a Resource Oriented Architecture when designing our FGA solution and did some therapy with Cote to help him deal with his exposure to a shaved, punk rock cat (we're hoping his health care covers the session).

Listen Now

Also, if you missed our webinar last week on the OpenSSO Fine-Grained Authorization capabilities check out the replay here. Enjoy!

Thursday Dec 17, 2009

Watch Webinar: Next Generation Fine Grained Access Control Using Open SSO

For those that missed it, below is the webinar we recorded yesterday on OpenSSO's new Fine-Grained Entitlement Enforcement capabilities. Enjoy! You can also read the press release here.

Wednesday Dec 09, 2009

OpenSSO Integrates with EJBCA, Enterprise Class PKI Certificate Authority

There's a couple of nice technical articles available that demonstrate how to integrate EJBCA and OpenSSO. EJBCA is an enterprise class PKI Certificate Authority built on J2EE technology. It is a robust, high performance, platform independent, flexible, and component based CA to be used stand-alone or integrated in other J2EE applications. EJBCA provides users with digital certificates for strong authentication and digital signatures. OpenSSO uses these credentials to provide single sign-on and authorization. Check out the articles.

Using OpenSSO To Protect Java EE Applications: Setting Up X.509 Client Authentication

Integrating EJBCA and OpenSSO (pdf)

Tuesday Dec 08, 2009

Next-Generation Fine-Grained Entitlement Enforcement Using OpenSSO

As we near the end of the year, Kuppinger Cole and Sun Microsystems will take an in-depth look at how you can externalize authorization using next-generation technology that scales! Analyst Felix Gaehtgens will review the market and provide insight into what's ahead, and Sun Chief Identity Strategist Daniel Raskin will share exciting news about how customers can use OpenSSO to implement a repeatable, scalable process for externalizing authorization.

Register Now for this free Webinar to learn more about:

\* What's happening in the market regarding externalized authorization
\* Key trends and priorities
\* Actions you should think about for 2010 and beyond
\* Fine-grained entitlement enforcement in OpenSSO Express 9

While other vendors offer fine-grained entitlement enforcement as a standalone solution, Sun's OpenSSO is the only solution to deliver access management, federation, secure Web services and now fine-grained entitlement enforcement — all in a single application.

Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Time: 10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT / 19.00 CET (
check my timezone)
Duration: 1 hour
Speaker: Kuppinger Cole Analyst Felix Gaehtgens and Sun Chief Identity Strategist Daniel Raskin

OpenSSO & Layer 7: End-to-End Web Services Security

Last week I recorded a new Identity Buzz Podcast with K. Scott Morrison, Layer 7 CTO & Chief Architect. We discussed the Sun OpenSSO Enterprise / Layer 7 SecureSpan Gateway integration. The combined Sun / Layer 7 solution offers a powerful one-two punch when trying to conquer web services security.

Essentially, the solution allows you to deploy SecureSpan as a policy enforcement point and OpenSSO as a Policy Decision Point when abstracting and centralizing authentication and authorization for your company's web services. The SecureSpan Gateway is a nice complement to OpenSSO because it inserts an abstraction layer between the web service requesters and web service endpoints in order to govern and secure their transactions. Rather than having to deploy a local agent to protect every web service you can implement a gateway that acts as a broker to all your services.

To learn more about this integration listen to our latest Identity Buzz Podcast on the topic.

Listen Now

You can also subscribe to the feed and get episodes automatically. Here’s the iTunes friendly link and the Feedburner feed. There is also a nice article describing the integration on the Sun Developer Network titled "Delegating XML Gateway Runtime Authorization to OpenSSO." Enjoy!

Wednesday Dec 02, 2009

Sun Identity Management Suite Partner Integrations

Sun prides itself on the breadth and depth of it's Sun Identity Management Suite partner integrations. We work hard to make sure that customers can integrate our products with all kinds of popular 3rd party solutions. This not only helps extend the breadth of capabilities you can deploy with your Sun Identity Management infrastructure, but also lowers the development cost of integrating our offerings with partner offerings to create a best-of-breed solution. We have hundreds of partnerships with strategic consulting providers, delivery specialty partners and ISV partners. Below are a set of new solution briefs we made available for a few of our popular ISV partners. Enjoy!

Risk-based and multifactor authentication provides supplementary identity protection for applications secured by Sun OpenSSO Enterprise. Delivered on-premise or as Arcot-hosted service. ArcotID software credential provides transparent two-factor protection.
Solution Brief

BrinQa offers a comprehensive Governance, Risk & Compliance platform that provides the flexibility of a web application and the robustness of a solid framework. The products offer Fortune 2000 companies a complete solution that brings the separate functions of G-R-C together for a holistic view of Information Risk. In addition, our out-of-the-box applications target the most critical business needs in the ITGRC market today.
Solution Brief

Cyber-Ark's Privileged Identity Management (PIM) Suite is an enterprise-class, full life-cycle solution for securing, managing, automatically changing and monitoring all activities associated with privileged accounts. This includes the Root account on UNIX/Linux, Administrator in Windows, Cisco Enable, Oracle systems/sys, MSSQL SA, SAP Application Server and many more such as Emergency or 'Firecall' IDs.
Solution Brief

Intellitactics solutions provide cost-effective choices for all organizations. Whether the focus is -- Compliance, Proactive threat management to protect information assets, Defending the enterprise against ingenious attacks or malicious insiders. These solutions enable every organization to reap the benefits of actionable visibility to IT risk relevant information and risk events.
Solution Brief

Passlogix offers enterprise single sign-on combined with Sun Identity Manager and Sun OpenSSO Enterprise to allow system administrators to directly distribute user credentials (usernames and passwords) for all enterprise applications (Web and non-Web).
Solution Brief

Tuesday Nov 24, 2009

Sun Directory Server Enterprise Edition 7 and Role Manager 5 Now Shipping!

I'm happy to announce that Sun Role Manager 5 and Sun Directory Server Enterprise Edition 7 are now shipping!

Sun Role Manager 5.0 is the latest release of Sun's Enterprise Role Management and Access Governance solution. In this release, Sun is extending it's leadership in the market by driving innovation that will allow companies to move beyond answering the simple question of “who has access to what?,” and make available the information necessary to intelligently govern the definition, assignment, and enforcement of access within an organization.

Sun Directory Server Enterprise Edition 7.0 allows companies to grow faster and easier. The new release focuses on two key areas – improving performance and lowering total cost of ownership. This release boasts a 3x performance improvement over the previous version of the product. In addition, this release provides hardware optimization with up to 60% improvement in authentications and modifications. This allows customers to accelerate their applications without changing a line of code.

If you would like a recap of what's new, check out our press release and updated Role Manager and Directory Server EE product pages below.

1) Read Sun Role Manager 5 / Directory Server 7 Press Release
2) Visit the Sun Role Manager Product Page
3) Visit the Sun Directory Server Enterprise Edition Product Page

Also, you can watch a recap of our launch webinar by just clicking on the video below.

Tuesday Nov 17, 2009

Sun Identity Management for Healthcare

Join Sun product manager Suresh Sridharan tomorrow 10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT / 19.00 CET (check my timezone), November 18, to learn how Sun's identity management solutions can help your organization to:

    1) Automate management of digital identities for other providers, patients, physicians, clinicians, and payors
    2) Provide single sign-on (SSO) and secure federated access to privacy-regulated healthcare information while adhering to strict mandates
    3) Enable delegated, self-service password management
    4) Comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), internal security policies, and corporate governance policies with complete auditing and reporting capabilities

To register for the event click here.

Wednesday Oct 28, 2009


Arrrr, me mateys!

I'm going to stand on my soap box for a few minutes to share my take on the ongoing dialogue around RBAC versus ABAC. The debate over which one is better seems to be as heated as the debate over which side of a black and white cookie tastes better (Seinfeld - Black & White Cookie Episode).

I'm constantly asked by customers about which approach I prefer. Analysts seem to enjoy this conversation as well. In fact, Kuppinger-Cole did a nice Q&A on the debate earlier this week and does a great job outlining the issues.

Critics of the RBAC model argue that RBAC is static and believe that taking an RBAC-only approach will lead to an excessive number of roles. They argue that policy decisions will need to leverage Roles plus attributes embedded within your application infrastructure.

Honestly, I think the debate here is somewhat self-created by framing it in terms of RBAC versus ABAC rather than simply acknowledging that a good policy engine needs to support both roles and dynamic attributes. It is very rare to come across customers that are able to contain all attributes within a role. I have yet to see a real-world organization with a clean RBAC implementation. Arguing for purely RBAC is a nirvana that casts a blind eye to the grey areas of the application infrastructure world.

The issue of RBAC v. ABAC is less a decision about choosing one over the other and more a decision around where one draws the line when defining roles. Todays organizations need to define a clear line between what attributes should be part of a role and what should remain application specific. The balance between how you define roles versus attributes is very use case driven and contextual to each customers environment. This boundry is often based more on business context, IT budget, perceived value of abstracting identity from apps, and a gazillion other factors that could influence what you should do.

From the perspective of entitlement enforcement, the basic jist is that any system that is going to work for a customer needs to support both ABAC and RBAC. Policy enforcement decisions need to take in to consideration role definitions and sometimes they also need to incorporate dynamic attributes from applications.

As we refine entitlement enforcement in OpenSSO (our Beta was made available in September 2009) we are looking at this from both perspectives and expecting real implementations to require a hybrid solution that is dynamic and can take in to consideration both roles and attributes. Our solution consumes roles, allows applications to push attributes to OpenSSO for policy evaluation, and allows OpenSSO to pull attributes for policy evaluation. In fact, OpenSSO also supports policy referrals or partial policy referrals to help make an "accept" or "deny" decision.

Thus, my solution is to stop arguing about RBAC versus ABAC and change the name to ARRRRRRRRR-BAC (use the best pirate voice you can muster). Thus, like the black and white cookie, we can all live together again in harmony.


Read my extraordinary thoughts about the world of identity and access management. As an identity child prodigy, I have much to say about these subjects.


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