Minimum definition of identity

I was at an event recently that Sun hosted with PWC and a number of top companies that we are working with in the Pacific Northwest. Several people were asking me about living in Austin, and one of the gentleman asked me for my opinion of Vince Young. I told him, "I don't know who that is." It was one of those moments (much like the old EF Hutton commercials -- however people were not hanging on my every word for insight but rather fell silent as they waited for me to either tell them I was joking or to let their horror unfold). Apparently this was especially surprising given that I live outside of Austin, Texas. Anyway, I did not know who Vince Young was.

This got me thinking about identity (well, just about everything gets me thinking about identity) and the set of attributes that make up an identity. We are having a lot of conversations with customers these days about "minimum authorized access" as a definition of identity as companies leverage identity management to help with security and compliance demands. Other days, when we are talking with companies who are using identity management for customer-facing application to drive service levels up and to establish trust, we talk about "maximum allowed access" as the definition of their identity. The interesting thing is, there is no difference between "minimum allowed" and "maximum allowed." It's all the same -- or it should be.

As you go through life, there are people you know, hobbies you enjoy, authors you read, things you care about that are part of your identity at that moment in time. These change. Things fall away, new things come online. The same is true of a network identity. Your role changes, responsibilities get added, projects end and our identity unfolds over time. There is no real need for maximum or minimum definitions, only the need for accuracy at the moment. As the edge becomes the new core, identity management and user-centric computing will increasingly offer this real-time definition of "who are you and what are you allowed to do" across buildings, network access, applications and data.

Now I sort-of know who Vince Young is, and while this story has become part of my identity, at least for a little while, knowledge of and an opinion on this gentleman has not.

Comments:

you really need to say who vince is or least link to a web resource about him Sara. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vince_Young i ended up more interested in who vince young is that the blog entry....

Posted by james governor on May 30, 2006 at 02:16 AM CDT #

He was the quarterback of the football team for the University of Texas at Austin, who won the National Championship last season. In the United States, the vast majority of people know who he is and a vaster majority in Austin, Texas know who he is. Fair point that outside this country this story may not resonate. Now go back and read the blog and let me know what you think, please.

Posted by Sara Gates on May 30, 2006 at 02:40 AM CDT #

Sara, when I visited Austin in January it was shortly after UT won the national championship. It seemed like every office had a banner, poster,or picture commemorating the event. Being from Boulder, home of the team which UT embarrassed in the Big12 Championship game, I knew exactly who Vince Young was. The photo on the cover slide of the presentation I gave that day had a picture of Vince taken as he announced he was not coming back for his senior season, but was going pro. Now I know why you didn't get the joke!

Posted by Jay Littlepage on May 31, 2006 at 08:23 AM CDT #

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