Fraud Reduction; Cybersecurity Mesh
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Is it a User? Is it a Person? No, it's an.. Identity?

Combined Session
Thursday, May 11, 2023 11:20—11:40

None of us in this industry work with bricks and mortar or other tangible, real objects. Everything we do (in IT, not just Identity and Access) is instead a digital representation, an abstraction, of something that might exist in the real world.

Identity and Access is the glue for many of those digital representations, and this concept of representation may be the most important thing to understand when considering the different possible meanings of words.

People new to Identity and Access quickly find that many of the words they encounter have different meanings than they first thought. Most frequently encountered are probably “user” and “identity” - do they represent the same type of entity or is a difference intended? Do they refer to the physical, real life person or do they refer to a virtual, digital object somewhere within the IT systems? Or both at the same time? And since people are often reluctant to show weakness in front of perceived experts, questions are too often not being asked when unsure.

In any industry, a typical consequence of miscommunication is that the end product or project will have lower quality or take longer to get delivered. This presentation highlight how this problem of misunderstanding may be larger in our industry of Identity and Access than in others, discuss why that is, and what might be done to counter it.

The presentation offers examples of where terms are ambiguous (where definitions seem to vary across the industry) and it discusses ways to perhaps improve the situation.

The presentation is based on a corresponding article in the IDPro Body of Knowledge.

Espen Bago
Espen Bago
Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV)
Espen Bago has been setting up Identity programs involving Identity and Access since 2010 and was an Identity and Access engineer for a decade before that. He is a founding member of the IDPro,...


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