Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What does "enterprise" really mean?

I recently received an email from a vendor titled "Why Single Sign-on Isn't the Answer" - Here's the text of the email...
Dear Jackson - Our press release below discusses three reasons "Why Single Sign-On Isn't the Answer."

1.) Expensive, time-consuming implementation.
2.) Single point of attack.
3.) Issues with partner sites.

RoboForm Enterprise increases corporate security and improves your end users' work flow and productivity, all while decreasing overall IT costs.

Find out why RoboForm Enterprise is "Better than SSO."

I'd be happy to answer any questions about customization, deployment, or pricing. We are here to help.

Of course, I had a question. Where do they store all of the single sign-on information? The answer: In a secure "wallet" stored on the user's hard drive. So the real question in my mind is whether or not this product is really an "enterprise" product if it doesn't support a directory? Or, is it just a product that a bunch of users can use in an enterprise?

In my opinion, it's not an enterprise product unless it supports a directory. What do you think?

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Mixed Windows/Linux shops have their hands full...

That's the title of one of the cover stories that ran on Oct. 27/08 in NetWorkWorld by John Fontana. One of the primary reasons that companies have their hands full here is because of:

The sprawl of management consoles, the proliferation of data they provide and the rising use of virtualization are adding challenges to corporations looking to more effectively manage mixed Linux, Windows and cloud environments.

It's nice to see that Quest Software's own "Management Xtensions for System Center" get mentioned as the solution that Johns Hopkins University is using to support their non-Microsoft infrastructure. He's also using our compliance solutions so he can report on both Windows and non-Windows platforms.

As the article mentions, the industry has been working on platform independence since 1998. More than 10 years later and third-party tools are still required to glue together these different systems. I'm sure there will still be a requirement for these types of tools for a long time to come...

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

What would it take? How about support for the standard?

James McGovern asks a great question over at his blog about getting some support for SPML in Active Directory or Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM, aka AD LDS).
What would it take for MS to provide code that simply takes a SPML request on one side and on the other performs the appropriate operations against either/or Active Directory and/or ADAM...

Well the answer is simple: Microsoft would have to support SPML, which it doesn't.

Sorry, what did you say? Use MMS/MIIS/ILM/ILM"2"? Oh, well then MMS/MIIS/ILM/ILM"2" would have to support SPML. Nothing at Microsoft supports SPML.

The stock answer from across the snowy street will be "Hey, that's what WS-Provisioning is for." So let's take a look at the WS-Provisioning support for Active Directory, Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM, aka AD LDS) and MMS/MIIS/ILM/ILM"2": Hmmm, same answer as before. Seems nothing supports WS-Provisioning either.

Personally, I love SPML. We support SPML 2.0 in our ActiveRoles Server (ARS) and, in fact, many of our customers use it in conjunction with Sun's identity products.

Well James, guess you're out of luck buddy. Sorry.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

If you aren't adding value...

I'm in Frankfurt, Germany attending Gartner's Strategy and Technology conference. This is the first time I have attended this type of show. As you know, I typically hang out at the identity management related shows. This show as been very interesting for me because the discussions have been less product-centric and much more strategic oriented.

There are a number of topics that I am going to blog about regarding what I've seen at this show and the customers I have talked about but I wanted to focus this post on value. When I say value I don't mean the value that infrastructure software or hardware might be delivering to your company but the value that YOU yourself are delivering to your company.

In case you haven't noticed, we as an industry and as a global economy have hit a dip in the road. I don't think we know if what we've hit is a dip, a hole, a canyon or a chasm. Either way, many companies have decided to scale back their spending or are actually laying off staff. A long time ago I learned that during turbulent times the best thing to do is put your head down, do your work, show the value you are adding and continue to deliver on your commitments. In other words, continue to deliver value to your company, your peers and your managers.

Today, delivering value really means showing how you are helping to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. This is also known as: Doing more with less. So is the role within your company to improve IT operational efficiency or helping to reduce IT costs? If so, put your head down, do your work and show your value.

If you are not involved in helping your company to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency then I think you need to put your head down and start making some telephone calls. Companies are focusing on costs right now. If you are focused on helping to reduce costs then great. If you are focused on "rocket science" projects then you may be at risk. What are some of the specific "rocket science" areas that are at risk? Compliance, security "policy", cloud computing, software/security/identity as a service, risk analyst or advisor are areas that I'd not want to be in at the moment. I've met a number of people who are now re-tooling their business cards from one of these soft and squishy titles to something hard like firewall expert or intrusion detection expert.

Companies are going to focus on cost savings more and more as this "dip" in the road continues. "Rocket science" projects are being canceled or, at best, being delayed. From what I am seeing over here in Europe my advice would be to ensure that you, in your role today, are helping to deliver hard savings, economies and improved operational efficiency to your company.

Are you adding value?

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Help Don out by answering a short survey

Don Jones - one of the most well-known PowerShell trainers, speakers, evangelists and community members is running a survey on his ConcentratedTech site. They have a bunch of $100-$500 certificates to give away, but more importantly this should help them optimize their site for better user experience.

So if you have a few minutes, here’s the survey link.

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