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February 17, 2015updated 19 Aug 2016 3:59pm

Identifying the ‘things’ in the Internet of Things

Gartner questions whether IAM is up to the job.

By James Nunns

Managing identities and access will be critical to the success of the Internet of Things, but in its current form identity and access management cannot manage the scale or the complexity that the IoT brings to the organisation.

Earl Perkins, research vice president at Gartner, said: "IAM leaders must reconsider how traditional approaches to cyber security and IAM work in a world where devices and services are so abundant, in so many different forms and positioned at so many different points within the IT ecosystem."

IoT growth means that IAM leaders of digital businesses require a way of defining and managing the identities of people, services and things within a single framework. IoT is a transformational approach to viewing and implementing processing, analytics, storage and communications.

Ant Allan, research vice president at Gartner, said: "Traditional, people-focused IAM systems have been unable to accommodate the propagation of devices and things to give a broad and integrated view for IAM leaders."

"The Identity of Things requires a new taxonomy for the participants in IAM systems. People, software that makes up systems, applications and services, and devices will all be defined as entities and all entities will have the same requirements to interact."

The Identity of Things is an extension to identify management which encompasses all entity identities. These identities are then used to define relationships among entities, for example between a device and a human.

IDoT needs to draw upon existing management systems in order to aid in the development of a single system for IoT. It is expected that IDoT will draw on some of the characteristics of ITAM and SAM within or integrated with IAM architecture.

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Earl Perkins, said: "Existing identity data and policy planning give IAM leaders and technology service providers (TSPs) a narrow view of entities leading to a static approach that does not consider the dynamic relationships between them."

"However, the concept of dynamic relationships is vital to the success of future IAM solutions. In fact, the concept of the relationship will become as important as the concept of identity is for IAM in the IDoT. It allows the IDoT to exist and become part of new responsibilities for IAM in the organisation."

Although it is not certain that IAM will be the sole provider of functions for IDoT relationships and interactions, the role that IAM has played over decades will probably ensure a continued role.

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