IDM (Identity Management system) is one of most important and complex component in common IT system.
Here is sample pain point in Identity management scenario when it comes from identity management area commonly.
1) Enterprise build their IT system with very simple & isolated identity management feature. All of each system has own IT management features.
2) Number of the IT system has been grown, and it has own identity management system.
3) End user starts complain to log in with different id for each system.
Lifecycle management & Provisioning
1) After employee leaves company, Enterprise it admin needs to delete all of identity across the system.
2) After new employee has been joined, his identity need to be created in email, ERP, CRM etc. Some identity creation needs to be approved by manager
Without common Identity management platform, identity management is being very painful.
B2B vs B2C
There are two main category that uses identity management. One is B2B and the other one is B2C.
B2B is enterprise IT. It is designed for manage internal user or restricted number of end client.
The characteristic of B2B system is,
- It has very complex scenario to support their business
- It has a lot of package based legacy system like ERP,CRM etc.
- It needs very elaborate authorization control.
- It has many types of roles (admin, manager, end user, org admin etc).
So the product which supports B2B scenario, focuses legacy system integration (provisioning, connector, standard support - WS-Security, SAML, XACML etc ) , work flow support etc.
This area is mainly driven by enterprise vendor like Oracle,CA,IBM etc.
In contrast, B2C area has different requirement.
In B2C area , it provides service to customer like SNS.
- It supports huge # of end user (+million)
- Role type and authorization control is very simple compare to B2B scenario.
- Open standard based federation model (OAuth 2.0, Open ID etc)
- Global deployment
Trend & Implementation options
To build up IDM system there are 3 different approach.
1) Option A. build with open source framework
build IDM system from scratch or reuse open source frame work.
To support just single silo system, big identity management system is not required. In this case, user just build the IDM system from scratch. For small to medium # of user, RDBMS backend preferred. For medium to big number of user, LDAP or Microsoft Active Directory is preferred.
To provided more platformanized (or well defined) IDM, open source frame work can be used.
Spring Security is one of major player in this area. It is more focused on web based application.
Apache Shiro is also one of the other major player. It can support web and others (REST API based security control etc).
2) Option B. build with niche vendor solution
If IT has to support more complex scenario. It that case it can consider solution. There are a lot of solutions which are optimized to specific scenario.
For example, Centrify is well optimized to support Active Directory based single sign on in B2B scenario. PingIdentity is good for user account federation scenario.
3) Option C. Full package from enterprise vendor
If the company has a lot of package based legacy system and it needs sophisticated role based authorization control, long running work flow for authorization approval, audit etc, full packaged IDM is recommended.
These kind of IDM product is delivered by enterprise vendor like Oracle,IBM,CA etc.
Figure 1. IDM gartner magic quadrent 2010
For B2C, commonly it uses Option A and if there is more complex requirement it uses (or moves from Option A to ) Option B. Big B2C company like Facebook, Google builds up their own IDM system with Option A approach.
For B2B, for small & isolated system it uses Option A. For restricted scenario, Option B. For enterprise wide it uses Option C. Commonly enterprise IT system has its own LDAP server internally and they provides minimum single sign on with solutions (Option B).
Commonly they has SSO, Provisioning only, not support authorization and other stuff. The authorization supports requires a lot of customization both in IDM and service application side. And full package vendor solution is very expensive, complex and hard to manage.
Here is common feature which is provided by traditional IDM systems.
1) User Management
It managed user identity during full life cycle. It created, update and delete the user identity information.
This feature manages whole life cycle of user identity management from creation to remove. Depends on requirement, user identity can be expired based on pre-defined logic. It also can manage password expiration date etc.
Some user identity creation or new authorization permission guarantee needs a approval. For example in case of banking account creation, it needs to check user identity. This kinds of approval required long running process.
It is implemented by using work flow engine (eg. BPM etc)
When user identity has been created or modified, it need to be replicated another system. For example new email has been created in email system, new account in sales system need to be created. In that case the user profile should be replicated (provisioned). It is one of very important feature in centralized IDM.
To manage user identity , single IDM admin is not enough. If the company has a lot of organization and authorization control is requires, single IDM admin cannot cover whole of the requests. So in that case restricted admin authority need to be delegated to someone (ex. managers in the organization ). This feature is delegated admin.
One more thing for this feature, if the delegated admin has been leaved the company the delegated authority should be propagated to another user in the IDM.
In specific system, user identity which prove "Who is the user?" is very important.
In Banking, Stock Trading system, user identity proven is very important issue. To support them IDM manages additional information like user certification, finger print and user biometric data
2) Access Management
Access management defines "Can user access specific resource?". It allows system to provide restricted access
Authentication is the process of determining whether someone or something is, in fact, who or what it is declared to be. This is commonly done by comparing user identity & credentials (id & password)
Authorization (ACL , Entitlement)
This is process of granting or denying access to resource.
In other term, it is controlled by "ACL (Access Control List)". It describes "Who can access what resource".
In authorization scenario, there are 3 types of access control
① RBAC (Resource Based Access Control)
Resource access is controlled by user role. Individual user can have number of role. For example a user can be "Partner" ,"Admin" ,"End User". Resource control is granted by pre defined access control based on each role.
RBAC is one of most broadly used authorization method.
② DAC (Discretionary Access Control)
It is more flexible compare to RBAC. DAC manages authority based on user identity (user id or it's associated group)
③ MAC (Mandatory Access Control)
User are given permission to resources by system administrator. Only the admin can grant permission to resource.
If there are number of systems and user logged once in one system, it doesn't need to log into other system anymore. This is Single Sign On.
There are standards to support SSO like SAML, CAS, Kerberos etc.
Repository persists user identity & profile.
User identity has user id and password for log in. ACL (Access Control List) and user profile which contains user related data for example - name, address , email etc.
This repository is read intensive. And it needs to support tree like structure because, user identity combines user organization structure too. In this reason LDAP is common solution for repository.
If system have to support global roll out, it should also consider regulation issue. Some user information cannot be stored outside their country. When it designs user profile scheme, legal check is required.
And to support the global roll out, data replication across data center should be supported.
4) Audit & Reporting
Audit means, "who did what to which resource?". It can enables admin to track resource usage, denial resource access etc. In some system , the access log can be used to track user pattern. Web access log analysis scenario is one of the example. In addition the resource access log can be used to metering service usage. (cloud computing scenario etc)
For denial access, it need to support notification message to admin and reporting. To prevent denied access, it also need to support "black list".
This area is consists of logging, gathering, analysis, reporting and achieving. Now days, it is implemented by using big data technology. (logging framework etc)
Integration feature is integrate multiple identity management system.
There are many perspectives. Replicate user profile from one to other systems is covered by "provisioning". Authentication across number of system can be covered by Single Sign On. Authorization over number of system can be covered by XACML based authorization system.
To simplify integration, we can have 3 perspective like below
Open standard support
Integration support is old problem in Identity management area. So there are already open standard to support the integration issue.
In B2C area, Open ID and OAuth are major player that support authentication.
In B2B area, there are a lot of standard like
- SAML,WS-Security: support SSO & Federation
- XACML: support authorization
- LDAP or Microsoft Active Directory : repository integration
- WS-Trust : API Security
Internal service integration
In enterprise, there are a lot of internal system. Especially legacy enterprise system (ERP,CRM) has very complex user profile scheme, organization structure and sometimes it doesn't support open standard. So it needs special integration connector to support the integration (provisioning, authorization etc).
The Connector support is main feature of internal service integration
External service integration
It covers identity integration covers external system which resides in outside of company.
- B2C integration - There are already well know B2C service system like google, Windows Live accout, Face book, Twitter account. B2C integration scenario is usually implemented with open standard (OAuth, OpenID, Active Directory etc)
- B2B integration - This area can have various scenario depends on requirement. If company A provides service B's from company B with white-label. They need to support SSO. In this case company A,B need to integrate their authentication by using SSO. In this scenario, if company B charge the service, user identity need to be provisioned from company A to company B to measure their usage.
B2B integration is occurred by ad-hoc way. There are no common approach in this area. Best way is clarify gap between two different identity management system and make integration scenario case by case. This approach is similar to EAI (Enterprise Application Integration).
- B2B (Cloud) integration - There are already cloud enterprise cloud service like SalesForce.com, Microsoft Office 365. This service needs to integrate with company wide IDM system.
To understand IDM deployment model, we have to understand IDM term first
IdP (Identity Provider) : This is IDM. It persists user identity, authenticate & authorize incoming request.
SP (Service Provider) : It provides service to end user. It has resource. Access to the resources are restricted by Idp. Example. Web Site etc.
Token : User credentials (id & password, or log in token - which is used for authentication)
There are 3 types of deployment models
Isolated IDM Model
Each service provider has it's own IdP. End user has to log in for each service provider with different identity.
Centralized IDM Model
Each services shares single IdP. This is most ideal model. End user can log in and access with single user identity.
All of access controls in all Service Provides are controlled by single ACL. It is consistent.
But it is hard to meet in real world. Product (open source or solution) already has it own Idp internally. If all of Service Providers are built from scratch, it can support this model.
Federated IDM Model
End user perspective, it is same to centralized IDM model. End user logs in Service Provider with single user identity. But each Service Provider has different IdP in backend.
This is common use case in IDM area. Authentication is integrated by SSO (Federation) and Authorization is covered by Entitlement (XACML etc)
Here is reference architecture of federation model
User management system create & update user profile. The profile is propagated to each IdP servers thru provisioning components. Service Provider has recent version of user profile.
End user logs in Service provider. It is federated by using SSO.