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January 22, 2019
3 min read

A Year in Identity

We're looking at the possibilities of 2019, and after spending one year as the product marketing manager for WSO2 Identity Server, here are some observations I’ve made as to why enterprises would need identity and access management (IAM).

Identity is more than SSO, it’s a key enabler for Integration Agility

Throughout 2018, we kept hearing how identity should be treated as something more than merely a security project at every identity conference we took part in. We have to go back to our enterprises and say why identity is the glue that holds it all together. Single sign-on (SSO0, authentication or securing APIs, would come off a simple task or singular project but it all eventually becomes a part of a much larger project, like integration. Customer identity and access management (CIAM) is a great example of integration. You use identity, API management, and integration components along with analytics to give users a fantastic user experience. So whatever your enterprise strategy may be, identity plays a key role in being future-proof and it’s more than just logging into applications.

Your customer comes first

CIAM, which may appear as a trend, should be the ultimate goal for any enterprise. Most customers that we deal with use WSO2 Identity Server for CIAM through SSO, identity federation, etc. CIAM helps to give your users a unified experience. An example is West Corporation, who does an excellent job of giving their customers a connected experience. We’re moving from multi factor authentication to adaptive authentication for the very same reason, to help you make your user's life secure and better.

There’s an API for that

Everything today is API driven. All businesses are inclined to expose their APIs and the rate of exploding endpoints is surely alarming. Yet, what would be the point if these are not secure?

Open source IAM is “still” an emerging concept and this should change

Although open source might not be the most known option for IAM, it should be. A lot of people assume that open source means free, but it’s the “freedom” to try the product, to scan and test the code as you please and NOT being “locked-in” to a vendor. It’s also easy to innovate fast with open source and it’s versatile because of the variety of authenticators and connectors. One of my team-mates illustrated this quite brilliantly on Quora. Therefore if one were to choose an IAM solution for their enterprise, I strongly urge to give open source a try.


It takes a situation like Cambridge Analytica for enterprises to take IAM seriously. With the rise of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the upcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), user consent and privacy are taking the precedence over everything and we fully support this. IAM is wired to provide compliance so that users are secure and businesses can make use of this opportunity to demonstrate that they are “user-centric” and prioritize privacy over everything. This way you maximize user retention too.

Some final thoughts

2018 has been a fantastic learning curve, also because I get to work with the best in the industry (both in Marketing and Engineering/IAM). One such person is Prabath Siriwardena, who is a walking encyclopedia of all things identity (check out his blog, you’ll learning something you didn’t know). Here's to a data breach free 2019! . . . You can read more blogs posts from me here. I also Tweet and get in touch with me @fishfaceishi