Most people think of identity as something that belongs to a person, but when it comes to IT, the concept of an identity also needs to be extended out to things and services. IBM today unfurled an IBM Cloud Identity Connect service that IT organizations can employ to assign identities to things and services alongside individual end users.
Ravi Srinivasan, vice president of strategy and offering management for IBM Security, says because of the rise of microservices enabled by technologies such as Docker containers, the number of services and things that need to be managed across the extended enterprise is exploding. To make it simpler to unify the management of all those identities, Srinivasan says, IBM decided to make the identity management software it has developed over the years available as a cloud service based on a microservices architecture.
“Computing is becoming highly distributed,” says Srinivasan. “Every API (application programming interface) and IoT project has an identity.”
Srinivasan says identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) provides the means for both users and applications to invoke single sign-on (SSO) capabilities through which they can securely access multiple applications and services regardless of where they reside. As part of that effort, IBM also announced today that the IBM MaaS360 service for managing endpoints has been extended to provide support for SSO.
Most IT organizations are just now coming to terms with the scope of the extended enterprise. The challenge many of them will face is simply finding a way to keep track of which end user or application is trying to access which service across that extended enterprise. The first step in applying some rational thought to all that potential chaos is, of course, being able to identify all the users and services by name.