For a long time many of us in the IAM space have been monitoring the various approaches to managing the identities of individual consumers, and those of employees and business partners. Some people think these systems will ultimately converge and each of us will have one identity – or credential – that we use to authenticate ourselves when accessing all of our applications for work and personal use. Others believe that we will always need to wield different personae as we access different services in order to protect our privacy.
While the two worlds of “Consumer Identity” and “Employee Identity” may never fully converge, it is very important for one to learn from the other. The “consumerization of IT” trend has taught us that people will expect the technology they use at work to behave the same way as the technology they use at home. So when there’s a new development in how consumers or individuals can access applications, it’s important to think about how it applies in the employee/business partner context.
Facebook’s new “Home” application is one of those developments worthy of our attention. When combined with Facebook Connect, users can receive a powerful experience. “Home” may become the portal people use to access all of their personal mobile and web applications. People will become accustomed to logging into a service that effectively provides a portal with links to all of their applications; when a user selects one of those apps, he’s automatically logged in without being required to authenticate again. Among other benefits, this capability will make it easy for a user to leverage SSO service from any device.
Employees and partners will come to expect a similar user experience. They will want to authenticate once to access all of the applications they need.
Employees and partners will want their enterprise portal to provide ‘pre-authenticated’ links to the applications they use to do their work. This portal may be provided as a web app or a mobile app.
This will become our employees’ “cloud desktop.”