The Next Evolution of IT

IT as a Service

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IT as a Service Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Ed Witkovic, Alan Williams, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Cloud Computing, SaaS Journal, IT as a Service, Platform as a Service

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IDaaS – Identity as a (Shared) Service

This is a very powerful example of the new approaches to IT

IDaaS – Identity as a Service, is a scenario where Cloud Providers will host and run Identity Management software, and provide it on a SaaS basis so the enterprise doesn’t have to install it on site.

This is a very powerful example of the new approaches to IT that initiatives like Shared Services Canada can benefit from.

Ie. A big pain point for citizens and government staff is having lots of duplicated identity systems, having to repeatedly supply a username and password for each one, over and over and over again.

This is because each agency and each application implements its own built-in identity authentication function, forcing the user to repeat the process, and so instead by moving to a shared service model then each application can instead rely on just one sign-on process, ie. they literally share it.

Claims-based architecture

This diagram, from Digital Identity for .NET Applications, explains the core concepts of an emerging ‘Identity Ecosystem‘ that these new technologies and standards will enable.

Microsoft provides a thorough expanation of how Government can apply these principles and technologies in this PPT presentation (42-page PDF) which promotes their products in this category.

This introduces the key concepts involved, most notably that it is a ‘claims-based’ approach that spans across all aspects of eGovernment, and that this single sign-on mechanism works across in-house applications (eg. Sharepoint) as well as Cloud-based ones, operating on Azure.

Open standards are key for universal adoption of common components like Identity, and relevant initiatives include organizations like Kantara.

In essence Kantara is a set of open standards that make this same effect possible across any combination of vendor technologies not just Microsoft.

IDaaS – Service Specifications

In addition to their standard for Identity Authentication systems: ITSG-31 here, the Government of Canada has also standardized on (and contributed to) to Kantara, their specific implementation is defined in this document. (53-page PDF).

Requirement for these standards is documented in this RFP for a Branded ICAM solution, and this also provides the specifications for how to operate it as a managed service, the core Identity as a Service delivery model.

This will evolve them from their ePass Service of today, to a Cyber-Auth Service of the future. This will enable ‘My GC Services’ single authentication across multiple Gov applications.

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