It's no secret we advocate for automating federation and enabling it to happen on a grand scale. To meet those goals, we are investing our expertise and resources into future identity infrastructure and industry efforts that we think are key to the evolution of our industry.
This week, Ping, along with Microsoft and SecureKey, became the newest board members at the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) with an eye on helping complete the last bit of technology we believe is needed to achieve a complete lifecycle of automated federation.
Many of the initiatives underway at the OIX address emerging issues. Problems such as how large numbers of federated issues are legally negotiated, and how third-party attribute providers can participate in traditionally two-party federated relationships.
The three-year-old OIX is molding the keystone that completes identity at scale via automated federation built on trust frameworks and attribute exchanges.
From a technical viewpoint, this last bit of work needed to complete automation is about uploading metadata and configuring peer-to-peer connections. Think of automated federation as the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) of identity. Basically, DHCP automatically configures devices so they can communicate over IP.
Internally, we say this automation is the complete "de-geekification" of identity; the final hiding of the plumbing behind the walls of online business.
What this means for day-to-day business is the on-the-fly ability to automatically build and tear down federations that support access controls. That power lets companies securely conduct transactions and provide access to information across historical boundaries and new-fangled devices.
The end result for a company with thousands of applications and users with multiple devices is that federation specialists acts much less like engine mechanics, and much more like an air traffic controllers. The goal is to stop building connections, and instead simply manage their trajectories.
Attribute exchanges ensure that personal data linked to automated federation can remain under the control of its owners - revocable or deleted at any time. Tightening of the nuts and bolts of these exchanges is where Ping will lend its expertise.
These exchanges are one possible future antidote for the unchecked collection and use of personal data, the evils of which are being exposed today in the fervor around the NSA and Facebook.
It takes a collective to complete this automation and OIX, a non-profit trade organization, has a member networkthat stretches from the Internet (including Google, PayPal), to data aggregation (including Equifax, Experian), to telecommunications (including AT&T, Verizon). OIX helps develop and register sets of agreements (business, legal, technical) companies use to support trusted online transactions.
These OIX trust frameworks, six in all including the U.S. government's ICAM and the Telcom Data Trust Framework, pave the final mile between manual process and automation. OIX also is overseeing two attribute exchange pilots, including one being developed as part of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.
Don Thibeau, founder and chairman of OIX, said, "It's a noteworthy coincidence, that three industry leaders, Ping, Microsoft and SecureKey are joining the OIX Board at the same time."
With automation, identity is truly available at scale and business is free to roam around a global network. We are looking forward to being more active in OIX, and to the results this work will have on the industry.