Introducing the Internet of Things “Identiverse” – Scale, Security and Standards

The term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is taking the IT world by storm. With machine to machine communication now proliferating, consumers will soon begin to see connected roads, cars, devices and technologies that will significantly transform the way we all live and work.

But what do such developments hold for the future of identity and access management?

The Internet of Things is on the astronomic rise

It is estimated that by 2020, there will be 24 billion connected devices.

The coming decade will see an exponential growth in ‘things’ (or devices) that are connected to the internet and are themselves social media aware.

This exciting and topical theme was the subject of focus at Whitehall Media’s prestigious 8th biannual Identity Management conference, where Hans Zandbelt, Senior Architect at Ping Identity, spoke at length about how the internet of things will soon be transformational for the identity landscape.

“The Internet of Things is going to be a lot of things” said Zandbelt.

“And as it is a lot of things, we have to deal with scale. How do we scale up things to the Internet of Things?”

Along with scalability, the problem of mutual authentication is yet another challenge. Traditional mechanisms like passwords are not feasible across 24 billion connected devices.

“Passwords are a no-go for the Internet of Things.”

Everyone, everywhere, every service

According to Zandbelt, what is needed is an identity layer that sits between applications and the network. He went on further to elaborate central pillars that have been identified as basic tenets in the identiverse.

First and foremost, “everything, everyone and every service has an identity.”

Thereafter, access that is federated by default, multifactor authentication, shared and open standards and privacy are all basic pillars of the identiverse, and essential to building the next infrastructure.

“We have moved from anonymity to identification by default. But we should really change that. We should have the option to only release the information we want to release.”

Moreover, identity needs be part of database and software stacks for the Identiverse to move from concept to reality. Reducing password usage and increasing automation, which allows systems and devices to self-configure and communicate with one another automatically, are vital to this process.

Going forward, Zandbelt advised that organisations need to invest more thought into open, standards-based identity frameworks, APIs and multi-protocol systems that are able to communicate and co-exist.