Moving Away from a Push Model for Enterprise Identity Architecture

The discipline of Enterprise Architecture and an architecture for identity management do not currently have a best practice. The TOGAF discipline of Enterprise Architecture promotes a holistic and systemic view for interoperable systems; these may be supply chains, business processes or identity repositories. The Emerging Architecture of Identity Management argues that identity management is based on a push model with provisioning from an authoritative source as its locus. This push model exists because as enterprise systems proliferated the only viable HR approach was to provision identity to each subsequent enterprise system.

The Open Group white paper on Identity Management (W041) presents an architecture based on Delegated Authority and a master Authoritative Source. This model is firstly a push model with trust provisioned down to enterprise systems.

It is time for a review of this architecture because from an Enterprise Architecture discipline a systemic best-practice must be aware of growing trends and technology driven best practice. This author believes that authorisation needs to be contextualised and separated from joiners and leavers processing. Authorisation requires more intelligence and the proliferation of OAuth and Facebook APIs into enterprise systems (e.g. Social Authentication) will require enterprise’s to have a better approach to Attribute Based Access Control. This will provide the further benefit of not requiring enterprise’s to invest on enterprise system provisioning connectors which require regular updating and often manual intervention for everyday tasks such as promotions, demotions, joiners & leavers.

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