What do you wish you’d known when you first started in identity?

By Greg Smith

The Internet Identity Workshop meets twice a year and publishes proceedings for those who were unable to join. IIW34 was held at the end of April, and our own Heather Flanagan led a topic entitled “What do you wish you’d known when you first started in identity?”, which is a topic near and dear to all of us in IDPro. Here’s a quick overview of some of the thoughts participants came up with (I deliberately did not edit the bullets captured from the whiteboard):

Wish I’d been there for the live discussion! These are some of the same challenges we’ve all had throughout our careers. Fortunately, we now have IDPro to help newcomers to the identity and access management industry with some of these challenges, starting with our Body of Knowledge, which addresses many of the questions above.

The green statement added to the first bullet stating that there’s “always a new context to solve for” especially rang true for me. This is a workspace that is constantly evolving, and you’re never really “done”.  That definitely feeds into the “Don’t worry solve everything” idea. Huh? Wait, what? Had to check with Heather on that one, and in the heat of the moment, words were missed on the whiteboard. The discussion actually went along the lines of “Don’t worry about solving for everything; every process is an evolution.” Okay, that makes more sense. To look at identity from an agile perspective, this is clearly a practice that benefits from iteration as new contexts continually show up.

Not captured on the whiteboard, but every bit as relevant, IDPro member Joe Andrieu said “I wish I knew that identity is how we recognize, remember, and respond to specific people and things. I also wish I knew that different people have fundamentally different mental models of what identity means. And we often talk past each other even as we honestly try to communicate.” So true! He also shared links to his Functional Identity Primer and Five Mental Models of Identity articles with the group. Definitely worth a read, folks!

What else do you wish you’d known when you got started in this space? Let us know in our Slack workspace and keep the conversation going.

Greg Smith

Chair, IDPro Editorial

Radiant Logic

Greg Smith is a Solutions Architect with Radiant Logic. He has been implementing Identity & Access Management solutions for over 35 years. He holds BSEG and MSBA degrees from Bucknell University, where he also began his professional career before moving into the Pharmaceutical industry in 1996. After a 25 year career there, he recently retired from Johnson & Johnson, where he led the engineering team for J&J’s single sign-on, risk based authentication, multi-factor authentication, access governance, directory synchronization and virtualization, provisioning automation, and PKI services. He has spoken at Identiverse® and other industry events on numerous occasions. He was recently CIDPRO™ certified and is also a founding member of IDPro, where he currently chairs the editorial committee.

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