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Digital Identity [Kindle Edition]

Phillip J. Windley
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The rise of network-based, automated services in the past decade has definitely changed the way businesses operate, but not always for the better. Offering services, conducting transactions and moving data on the Web opens new opportunities, but many CTOs and CIOs are more concerned with the risks. Like the rulers of medieval cities, they've adopted a siege mentality, building walls to keep the bad guys out. It makes for a secure perimeter, but hampers the flow of commerce.

Fortunately, some corporations are beginning to rethink how they provide security, so that interactions with customers, employees, partners, and suppliers will be richer and more flexible. Digital Identity explains how to go about it. This book details an important concept known as "identity management architecture" (IMA): a method to provide ample protection while giving good guys access to vital information and systems. In today's service-oriented economy, digital identity is everything. IMA is a coherent, enterprise-wide set of standards, policies, certifications and management activities that enable companies like yours to manage digital identity effectively--not just as a security check, but as a way to extend services and pinpoint the needs of customers.

Author Phil Windley likens IMA to good city planning. Cities define uses and design standards to ensure that buildings and city services are consistent and workable. Within that context, individual buildings--or system architectures--function as part of the overall plan. With Windley's experience as VP of product development for and CIO of Governor Michael Leavitt's administration in Utah, he provides a rich, real-world view of the concepts, issues, and technologies behind identity management architecture.

How does digital identity increase business opportunity? Windley's favorite example is the ATM machine. With ATMs, banks can now offer around-the-clock service, serve more customers simultaneously, and do it in a variety of new locations. This fascinating book shows CIOs, other IT professionals, product managers, and programmers how security planning can support business goals and opportunities, rather than holding them at bay.

Editorial Reviews


"Highly recommended" - Greg Matthews, news@UK, March 2006

About the Author

Phillip J. Windley is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. Dr. Windley is a nationally recognized expert in using information technology (IT) to add value to the business. Windley received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Davis in 1990. Prior to his graduate studies, Windley worked for 4 years as a nuclear metallurgist and a member of the technical staff at the Department of Energy's Division of Naval Reactors.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1058 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026OR3DA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,712 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent architectural overview of identity management September 29, 2005
If you are looking for an architectural level book on tracking and maintaining identity in distributed systems this book is for you. If you are looking for something about managing your personal digital identity, there is nothing here for you. In addition those looking for code samples beware. There are some XML code fragments but this is an architectural level book, which means, no code.

The writing is great, and the illustrations are used well to cut through what are often some complex interactions between multiple digital authorities. Definitely worth the look if you know what you are getting.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
When I received Digital Identity (234 Pages, O'Reilly, 2005, ISBN 0596008783) for review, I was fully expecting I would be slogging through a deep technical dive into identity management architectures (IMA). Boy, was I wrong. What I got was a extremely thorough discussion of identity management architectures within the context of information systems (IS) governance processes. This is the first time I have read a book that so thoroughly weaves technical discussions (at an appropriate level for the intended audience) with a full discussion of the IS governance frameworks that are essential to success when implementing an IMA. There is only one place where Phillip Windley, former CIO of the State of Utah, falls short in this book.

Windley is up front in stating that management of digital identities is fundamental to success in information technology. He also makes it clear that the purpose of the book is not to show how to design and implement an IMA. It is about understanding IMAs in a business context. Windley also does an excellent job at showing why critics of digital rights management (DRM) (as enforced by the movie and record industries), are doing more of a disservice by framing the DRM dialog in the wrong context. A such, people are predisposed in their opinions whenever the discussion comes up in any context.

Stating this up front, the reader of the book will walk through an explanation of what digital identity is, the concept of trust, the lifecycle of digital identity, and the business reasons for it. After laying the groundwork, as well as covering interoperability and federation of identity, the authors covers what really should be the best practices for any organization.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to IMA November 15, 2005
Many people who review their credit report for the first time are shocked to learn how many identities are linked to them. Even when there is no problem of identity theft, it is not uncommon for people to have 10 or more names linked to their credit reports due to various errors, including permutation of their name.

Just as it is difficult to maintain and manage identities in the real world, it is difficult to maintain and manage digital identities. As the digital economy is becoming more ubiquitous, the need for a single federated identity is becoming more critical. In Digital Identity, Phillip Windley details the steps needed to develop an identity management architecture (IMA).

Identity management has become a pressing need in the past few years. This has come about because networks and systems are no longer geared around a single infrastructure, and businesses have become increasingly virtual and decentralized. In previous years, there were simply internal users. Today, systems have internal users, along with external users such as consultants, contractors, third-parties, customers, collaborators, and many more. Such requirements necessitate a well-designed and planned IMA.

So what is this thing called IMA? Windley defines an IMA as the coherent, enterprise-wide set of standards, policies, certifications, and management activities that enable an organization to effectively manage digital identities.

IMA is also known as federated identity. The book notes that the real challenge in developing a federated identity infrastructure is dealing with the various different hardware and software platforms where user accounts reside, and working with different organizations and departments, including the ever-increasing amount of outsourcing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Jim W
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the best coverings of the Identity Management space and I am sure that Phillip could have written several thousand more pages on the subject.

Excellent for any CXO that thinks there might be something to this Identity Management.

I wish all the CXO's I have worked with in the this space had read this book, it would sure save them and me a lot of time and them a lot of money wasted on "stop-gaps" that are sure to be dead-on-delivery projects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on Identity Management July 26, 2007
Identity Management is my day to day job as our company heavily focuses on various IAM initiatives.I was always looking for a book that can give enough material on how to go about design, deploy IAM solutions. This book is the one for it. This book really deserves 5 stars.
Ramnath Krishnamurthi,
Like Minds Consulting Inc,
New York, U.S.A
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written high-level content. February 17, 2008
In my opinion, this book is really feeding the buzzwords frenzy of Identity management domain . It certainly "talks the talk", but can it "walk the talk"? - Full of google-able content and no meat. I can think of numerous glaring examples where the book falls short. To name a few: SAML (huh? where is SAML 2.0), XACML, Liberty, WS-Federation
I think the book does a below average job of providing practical information. Even the content does not flow very smoothly and coherently.
I wasted mu money, now this book going to be on my shelf collecting dust.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete, and lacks the practical side
I selected this book based on an upcoming IAM project I'd be involved in, and on Amazon reader recommendations (overly positive, as it turns out). Read more
Published 22 months ago by CeSinge
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Complete and easy to understand
The book presents all the characteristics, goals and challenges when we think on Identity Management. Read more
Published on November 15, 2012 by Mauricio Nunes
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing technology with delivery management
Though this book covers some basic issues surrounding identity management, the architecture part is very weak. Read more
Published on January 6, 2010 by Seetharama Rao V. Durbha
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Informative
A great book, cover to cover - and exceptionally well organized. The subject matter is covered in a methodical, clear manner, and is applicable to both the expert and the neophyte... Read more
Published on June 25, 2007 by Joseph L. Hardin
3.0 out of 5 stars high-level concepts but no practical guidance
This book gives a hello world introduction about digital identity concepts and nothing beyond. The book absolutely fails and falls short on explaning the identity management... Read more
Published on March 21, 2007 by Prasad Reddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but useful intro to identity management
This book is designed to familiarize CIOs, IT managers, and other IT professionals with the language, concepts, and technology of digital identity. Read more
Published on January 4, 2007 by calvinnme
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and comprehensive
Ever noticed how many of the most useful books are really short? Kernighan and Ritchie on C Programming and Kent Beck on Extreme Programming come to mind, well now we have a short,... Read more
Published on November 24, 2006 by Gunnar Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical O'Reilly Poduct - Perfection
If you want to learn about IDM, this is a great book. It is worth the time and money.
Published on June 21, 2006 by Bruce Levis
5.0 out of 5 stars Covers all the bases and then some
Very well written and organized, this book can save you a lot of grief. Author is absolutely correct, Identity Management is a far less technical subject than it is political. Read more
Published on April 7, 2006 by Eclectic Enthusiast
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More About the Author

Phil Windley is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Kynetx, an early stage company providing a platform for building browser apps. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University where he teaches courses on reputation, digital identity, large-scale system design, and programming languages. Phil writes the popular Technometria blog and is a frequent contributor to various technical publications. He is also the author of the book Digital Identity from O'Reilly Media.

Prior to joining BYU, Phil spent two years as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the State of Utah, serving on Governor Mike Leavitt's Cabinet and as a member of his Senior Staff. Before entering public service, Phil was Vice President for Product Development and Operations at Excite@Home and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of iMALL, Inc. an early creator of electronic commerce tools. Phil serves on the Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards for several high-tech companies. Phil received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Univ. of California, Davis in 1990.

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