A Developer’s Resource for Identity and Access (IdA) Understanding

If you were to read the following line of code in a program, what meaning might you derive from it?

grokIdA = Developer.GetIdAUnderstanding(information)

So what do I mean by grokIdA? If Grok is an unfamiliar word to you, it means to understand in a deep way. Since understanding is essentially a function of adequate and appropriately applied information, the purpose of this blog is to facilitate the types of information necessary for developers to attain a deep(er) understanding of the challenges surrounding Identity and Access (IdA). And further, to see how to apply technologies like Active Directory (AD), Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM), Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) and Authorization Manager (AzMan) to help mitigate these challenges. The Microsoft Identity Integration Server (MIIS) product enables life-cycle management of identities (provisioning/de-provisioning and much, much more), but IdA Management (IdAM) will not be the initial focus of this blog.

Today enterprises face ever pressing regulatory compliance and audit requirements making it essential for them to solve their identity and access issues. However, I realize it can be a daunting task for a developer to research all the capabilities of the available technologies, search and find all the information available, and then stitch together an approach for building their application. Some readers may have just been assigned the task to get a handle on their enterprise’s or product suite’s IdA issues. Some may be in the research phase but are getting bogged down with information overload. And others may be well on their way to designing approaches and solutions. In any case, the premise I am working from is that this is a “journey toward understanding” which assumes that many will be traveling alongside who may be new to IdA and its problem space.  Therefore, let’s start the journey/conversation with, “The .NET Developer’s Guide to Identity” on MSDN by Keith Brown. This is an excellent document that lays out the landscape for identity from authentication to authorization to federation and much more. Enjoy.