Friday, January 04, 2008

2008 Security Trends

I read Jon Oltsik's article on this topic over at CNet. In a couple of places he is attributing some of the trends to Windows (Server) 2008. For example:

Public key encryption: This one will trickle in on the back of federal government initiatives, PKI-ready applications, and PKI-friendly Windows 2008. To ease PKI complexity, look for service provider offerings as well from firms like Chosen Security, RSA Security, and Verisign.

I'm not sure where he gets the idea that WS2008 is any more PKI friendly than previous versions. If you really want to do anything significant/enterprise-ready you'll need to purchase "Identity Lifecycle Manager" which includes "Certificate Lifecycle Manager" the former Alacris product. Why this simply isn't included in the OS or isn't free escapes me.

Federated identity: This, too, rides the Windows 2008 wave but I'm also hearing about service providers and large financial service vendors that have built "ready to federate" Web-based applications for their partners. Like PKI, federated identity has been overpromised in the past so don't expect it to garner major headlines. Nevertheless, federated identity will experience good growth under the radar all year. Aside from Microsoft, expect IBM, Oracle, and Sun to benefit as well.

Again, I am not sure how WS2008 makes federation any easier. I talked with a customer yesterday who made the strategic decision to go the Active Directory Federation Service (ADFS) route for federation and has since abandoned the project. Why? Too difficult to configure and maintain. As far as I know, this problem has not been solved in WS2008.

Personally, I want to see both PKI and Federation take off but there are still technical issues let alone the usual 8th-layer of the stack problems (politics, lawyers, etc.).

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