Identify 2019 - A Consultants View

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The following summaries are provided by Smriti Suri Maun and Michael Stadnik who attended their first Ping Identity event on Wednesday 9th October - Identify 2019 - London.

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Sim writes….

“We had the privilege of attending Ping’s Identify event. One of the sponsors of the event was my company; Raidiam and we represented the company to partners, clients, providers and the likes.

It was an impressive venue with a great turnout of over 500+ people. The day was planned very well with various identity seminars involving client companies, partners & people from Ping.

Smriti (Sim) Suri Maun, Principal Consultant

Smriti (Sim) Suri Maun, Principal Consultant

The main keynote was from Ping CEO Andre Durand who spoke about emphasis of identity and security in today’s digital age. He cited examples from various IT industry giants, SMEs, partners who are working towards making Identity the heart of digital transformations across their estate. He then covered the capabilities of various Ping products which help companies deliver their digital identity in a secure manner using ping. He recognisably handed a massive thanks to all the sponsors who help Ping deliver their capabilities to their clients. Raidiam was one of the sponsors of the event and is a partner for Ping!

All the sponsors, including us had our own Raidiam corner where we showcased our products and the prodigious solutions we have delivered using Ping products. We had our own TV screen for our presentation with our flyers ready for all interested audiences. We had many visitors in our corner. They wanted to know how we leveraged Ping’s capabilities, the products we have delivered and the impressive clientele we have acquired across various industries.

We then broke for lunch which was a lavish spread of food buffet which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. My personal favourites were cakes which I devoured aplenty!

We then had the absolute pleasure of listening to James Veitch’s spamming the spammer show. He had the whole audience engaged and in stiches with his content. Besides scamming the scammer and making them taste their own medicine, I think the underlying message was how to stay safe online. Especially for vulnerable people like my own father who would respond to these emails with earnest replies thinking someone would actually part with £1500 of their monies for them. I have forwarded a YouTube video of James to my dad to watch and understand the perils of people sitting behind their screens who will stop at nothing to make you part with your hard-earned money. I had the pleasure of speaking to James one to one as I sat down at venue reception to rest my feet from standing all day. He was waiting for his taxi. I asked him where his starting point is to engage with the spammers, his reply “just go to your junk mail and pick one, shall I show you how?”. Being in IT for 20 years and realising where junk emails go, I quickly came to realisation that it was a very foolish question on my behalf. I blame my tired feet, not my brain for it!

We had the pleasure of listening to Colette & Emma on why digital identity needs diversity and women! In an industry where there isn’t much representation, they have made it their mission and vision to speak at these events to make companies realise the importance of hiring more women and people of diverse stature. As they rightly said, with inclusion you make this world a smaller place with more people you can interact with and more demographic you can relate to. I absolutely agree with this and it was a pleasure to listen to my thoughts out loud. I hope it resonated with the audiences there as well.

Eventually, I did manage to get into one of the key speaker’s presentation. This one was from AIB’s Stephen Williams. He went through an engaging presentation on AIB’s digital journey to adhere to PSD2 regulations by incorporating Ping products to deliver their products , the challenges they faced by having a massive shift in their customer experience and employing additional MSAs to deliver customer needs by assisting them to register/use AIB products. He thanked Ping for being awesome (sic) with their engagement in helping AIB deliver their digital needs. 

The day wrapped up for me very nicely. I had a real feel of identity engineering, upcoming products, variants of these products, met some interesting people, heard some engaging presentations. The future of identity looks busy and exciting!”

Michael writes…..

“This was my first Ping Identity event, IDENTIFY 2019 for the European October 9th location, held in the glamorous Grand Hall of the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms. I was here on behalf of Raidiam, one of the exhibitors at the event.

Michael Stadnik, Senior Consultant

Michael Stadnik, Senior Consultant

An early start at 8:15 AM, I was welcomed by the pleasant staff and event organisers to some networking opportunities over light breakfast.

Before the event got underway with the opening speaker, Ping Identity’s CEO Andre Durand, I had a chance to browse over the booths of the other exhibitors. Obviously, to check out what kind of company branded loot they had stocked at their tables, and per chance to cop some glorious gifts. Raidiam came very well prepared, the table generously laid with information pamphlets on Raidiam’s identity services, illuminated by a montage of a SKY News feature interview playing on the screen overhead. Ralph Bragg never looked so good. Raidiam was set to impress with this menagerie. Or so I thought, till I noticed the neighbouring booth of SailPoint. They had fidget spinners! And these were not just plain, ordinary fidget spinners that were all the rage with the kids of the summer of 2018. Oh no, these were fidget spinners that had hidden cables inside, that transformed the spinners into semi-functional pieces of kit, iPhone power connection cables. The game was over, there was no competing with these treasures. Making sure to grab one before making the rounds, I decided to say hi to the fellow exhibitors.

Rob Otto’s presentation on ‘Curing Attention Spans with Passwordless Authentication’ managed to cure my attention to the fidget spinner, spinning away in my hand. He described the business case of customer retention by keeping user login flows simple and seamless, replacing usernames and passwords with mobile authentication. The user flow was nicely demonstrated, with the login screen presenting a scannable QR code, allowing the linked mobile app to get approval from the user to sign on, never needing to type a username or password. It was a feelgood moment.

The lunch buffet included tender turkey breast. I had to give an appreciative nod to the organisers for respecting Canadian thanksgiving traditions being celebrated at this time of year.

Some great highlights came out of the breakout sessions. The Evolution of CIAM presented by John Heaton Armstrong and Martin Ingram was an informative look at the big players on the field of customer identity access management and how that fits in the financial sector. Apple and Google are already paving the way, but banks should really consider stepping in. 

Dore Rosenblum gave an insightful overview of potential risks and vulnerabilities exposed through APIs in his ‘Unlock Your API Security Potential’ presentation. Dore underlined the prevalence of valid user accounts being used to probe APIs for access to data and infrastructure. The key to avoiding unwanted use of APIs is the implementation of a fine-grained control on the endpoint layer.

The afternoon Keynote deserves high praise. English comedian James Veitch got the hall full of laughter with his skit on scamming email scammers, turning the tables and wasting scammers’ time and by that virtue their money. It was a playful take on the funny side of the day’s focus, which is generally a serious topic of identity management, online security and business integration.  

Colette D’Alessandro and Emma Lindley introduced some diversity to the predominantly male speakers with their presentation on ‘Why the Digital Identity Industry Needs Diversity.’ They raised an interesting point based on studies evaluating the impact of diversity in the workplace which reminded me of a quote by Motoko Kusanagi from the 1995 Japanese film Kōkaku Kidōtai: 

“If we all reacted the same way, we’d be predictable, and there’s always more than one way to view a situation. What’s true for the group is also true for the individual. It’s simple: overspecialise, and you breed in weakness.”

The product demonstration of PingOne for customers, presented by Vinny Sagar, was a concise walkthrough of the platform; exploring the potential access management of users and user grouping in the cloud. Vinny demonstrated how universal user accounts in PingOne could manage individual users with context based rules.

‘Cloud-Ready Software for DevOps and DIY Private Cloud’ with speaker Patrick Cowland, illustrated the steps of deploying software from dev to production in 21 minutes of code runtime. An impressive turnaround but the presentation would have benefited with a focus on solutions to configuration management.

As the day was drawing to a close with the speakers finishing up and the main hall being prepared for the networking social hour, back at Raidiam’s exhibition table, I noticed one of my co-workers was searching for a plug to recharge her phone. There were none around. I handed her the fidget spinner. It was a satisfying conclusion to an engaging day of IDENTIFY 2019.”