Thursday Jan 14, 2010

New Blog at SmokingMonkey.org


Today, I imported all entries from this blog into my new WordPress blog at smokingmonkey.org. 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!

Visit SmokingMonkey.org!

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

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!

Wednesday Oct 28, 2009

ABAC + RBAC = ARRRRR-BAC

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.

Tuesday Sep 15, 2009

OpenSSO: Simple Integration with Microsoft AD

Our Sun identity heroine, SuperPat, recently wrote a nice blog on a new feature in OpenSSO Express 8 -- Simple Microsoft Active Directory configuration. Download Express 8 to test it out. We've removed a few steps to make using AD as an identity store reaaaaaaaaaally easy. Have fun.

Tuesday Aug 18, 2009

OpenSSO Express for Improved SSO

If you have a spare hour tomorrow (Wednesday August 18th 2009) morning, join me as I will be presenting a webinar titled OpenSSO Express for Improved SSO. The webinar is at 10am PDT/1pm EDT/7pm CET for an update on the very latest features in OpenSSO Express 8 and beyond, such as mobile one-time passwords, the Fedlet for .Net, and SalesForce.com integration. We will also be previewing our OAuth Token Service.

Tuesday May 26, 2009

Nailing Down the Definition of "Entitlement Management" with OpenSSO

Ian Glazer from the Burton Group wrote a nice blog on having a meaningful conversation around the definition of entitlement management. Ian was responding to a blog by Ian Yip and basically states we need more specificity around entitlements in the context of access controls. I agree with Ian's sentiment and thought I'd take some time to discuss how Sun thinks about entitlement management when it comes to access controls.

First, as Ian points out in his blog we agree that entitlement management is to vague a term and cuts across many facets of identity management including roles, provisioning, access controls and reporting. When it comes to access controls we've decided to refer to it as "entitlement enforcement" so that it's clear that we are talking about the run-time enforcement of access entitlements.

Second, when we refer to entitlement enforcement we believe that we are discussing the fine-grained access controls around resources. That is, rather than protecting "doorways" or coarse-grained access we provide authorization decisions around all the "objects" within an application or resource (often referred to as fine-grained authorization). For example, a common scenario we see is in the financial services area and the need to provide entitlement enforcement around specific fields within a banking portal. For instance, a banking portal may want to provide access controls that limit the amount of money that subjects such as individuals, roles or groups can transfer. I may have the ability to transfer $1 million dollars and Ian may have the ability to transfer $5. Note that the access controls I'm talking about are not only specific to urls, but also other resources such as fields, calendars, etc.

Third, entitlement enforcement requires policy enforcement points that are easy to deploy and scalable. Sun is approaching this in two ways. 1) OpenSSO can be deployed as a policy enforcement point or 2) we will be offering a Fedlet policy enforcement point, a lightweight method for embedding policy enforcement points within applications. The key to this effort is making it lightweight and performant at the same time. Basic jist is if you have all the capabilities to implement entitlement enforcement but it isn't repeatable and scalable in terms of deployment then it won't be practical to implement and could hinder adoption.

Four, Sun believes that all aspects of an entitlement enforcement solution imply scale. Your policy store needs to scale. The user interface needs to scale to allow people to manage lots o' policies and the entitlement enforcement solution needs to be performant to ensure it can handle lots and lots of authorization transactions.

Five, auditability and simulation of policies is important as well. Entitlement enforcement needs to fit in to the development process so that administrators and developers can work together to define applications, develop policies and test policies throughout development, QA, staging and production. Providing tools to do this and ensuring that admins can export policies from the entitlement solution so that they can develop error free scripts as they move from environment to environment is critical.

Six, identity services are key to entitlement enforcement. The fine-grained nature of entitlements means there is a much larger burden on developers to tie policy to a centralized system. There needs to be several options that developers can use to handle embedding entitlements in the application or container. This includes lightweight identity web services such as OAUTH/REST, standard protocols such as SAML/XACML and complete abstraction via agents. Depending on the customer, we believe you need to support multiple options. Whereas a Web 2.0 company may be very excited about REST a financial services company may be more focused on agents and completely abstracting authorization from the developer. As Gerry points out, there are many ways to do this whether it be using XACML, WS\*, OAUTH, etc, etc, etc.

Finally, Sun has a unique belief that entitlement enforcement should be part of your web access management solution. This is not specific to the definition of entitlement enforcement, but rather our belief around how to pragmatically implement it. Deploying separate WAM solution and entitlement enforcement solution adds unnecessary complexity to your identity infrastructure and vastly increases the TCO. It means that organizations have multiple products to maintain and upgrade. It also means that customers will likely have multiple policy stores within their organization. From our perspective, WAM solutions were built to handle entitlement enforcement and it is a natural extension of web access management that is more likely to lead to customer adoption rather then requiring someone to license and deploy a separate component in their environment.

Our entitlement solution is currently under construction at OpenSSO.org. It will be 100% XACML based and is focused on delivering everything I've described above. You can currently view it via the OpenSSO source code, but we will be providing more details shortly for you to test it out. We will also be showing the new capabilities at OpenSSO Community Day 3.0 in San Francisco this weekend. Make sure to attend so you can see it and provide feedback.

Tuesday May 12, 2009

POSSO iPhone App is Now Available for Download

Our first community iPhone app, POSSO, is now available for download. Great to see people thinking about how to leverage the iPhone App Store for Identity and Access Management innovation. Although POSSO is a pretty basic app it does make your mind start to think about other tools that could be created. If I was an IT Admin, I'd love to be able to see my monitoring data on my iPhone. Imagine being able to check on the fly the # of logins per minute, or number of concurrent users, or # of users provisioned in a day. Pretty funky stuff. Check out POSSO and enjoy.

Wednesday May 06, 2009

European Identity Conference: Felix Gaehtgens Interviews Pat Patterson

. . . and captures a flattering image. :-)

European Identity Conference: Felix Gaehtgens Interviews Eve Maler

OpenSSO Fedlet Wins Best Innovation in IAM and GRC



This week I have been having a blast at the Kuppinger-Cole European Identity Conference in Munich. I've had lots of good conversations, participated in great sessions and talked to customers and press. To top it off, we were just awarded Best Innovation in IAM and GRC for THE FEDLET. As you all know, this is my favorite feature of OpenSSO. Super lightweight federation for Java or .NET apps by adding a teeny, tiny little package to your application. No infrastructure or graduate degree needed to install. Wocka Wocka Wocka!

Thursday Apr 30, 2009

OpenSSO on the iPhone

Rohan Pinto at Sun has been working on a very cool project, named PoSSO, that makes the OpenSSO Admin console available on the iPhone. The app allows you to perform basic help desk administration tasks like create user, change password, reset password right from your iPhone. Check it out. It's pretty unbelievable.

Wednesday Apr 22, 2009

Federated Single Sign-On to Google Apps in Under 4 Minutes

In our OpenSSO Express 7 release we added a new feature focused on allowing people to configure both OpenSSO and Google Apps in minutes for simple authentication. Below is a video of me doing so with the latest build. My goal was to do it in under 4 minutes. If you want to test it out download Express 7 and our Google Apps Starter Kit to begin.


Thursday Apr 16, 2009

OpenSSO Express Build 7 Now Available

As promised, Sun is proud to announce the release of OpenSSO Express Build 7. This is a supported release and the first of many Express Releases leading up to OpenSSO Enterprise 8.1.

As many of you already know, the moment we finish a feature we now test it and make it available via an Express Release, which occur every three months. Customers that subscribe to OpenSSO Enterprise get complete access to these builds with support and indemnification.

Below is a list of some of the major enhancements / features.

1. FEDERATION WITH GOOGLE APPS PREMIER
Google Apps Premier Customers can now download Sun OpenSSO to deploy rapid federated single sign-on to organizations that use Google Apps as their collaboration and messaging service. The OpenSSO solution allows organizations leveraging Google Apps to use enterprise logins to access Google Apps, providing increased user adoption, improved security and administration benefits.

2. ADDITIONAL CONTAINER SUPPORT
\* GlassFish Prelude 3
\* IBM WebSphere Application Server 7.0
\* Oracle WebLogic Server 10g Release 3 (10.3)

3. SUPPORT FOR OPENDS STANDARD EDITION
Customers can now download and deploy OpenDS Standard Edition as a user store with OpenSSO.

To read about all the new features and enhancements in OpenSSO Express 7 check out our Express 7 Release Notes.

Download OpenSSO Express 7 now.

Monday Mar 16, 2009

Sun Everyday Provisioning Webinar -- March 18th, 2009


Skip American Idol on March 18 because there is something much more entertaining you can watch! You guessed it! Sun's Craig McDonald is going to sing, dance and talk about the Sun Identity Manager roadmap and why it is "da bomb" when it comes to identity provisioning. Don't miss out.

REGISTER NOW!
March 18th, 2009
10:00 PT/1:00 ET

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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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