Presentation on OpenID, SAML and Authentication

This past Monday I gave a presentation as part of the Identity Management track at the first Virginia Security Summit in Richmond, VA. The audience here was a mixture of Virginia state & local technology decision makers (CIO / CTO) and implementers. This included local government, education and transportation representatives.

The session description was rather broad.

A comprehensive security plan has to start with user authentication. It is not an easy task when the range of users is constantly growing and shifting, as are potential threats. Using just one tactic is not enough – it takes a combination of technologies and procedures. This session looks at the latest technologies and approaches as well as their strengths and shortcomings.

So, I decided to give a primer on the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and OpenID single sign on standards. At the beginning of the presentation I took a poll of the crowd and found that about one quarter of those in attendance (~50 people) knew something about each of these standards.

In addition to comparing and contrasting SAML and OpenID, I also talked about several strong authentication options available for each of these SSO standards. I basically wanted to convey that there are better options then making users (citizens) create yet another username & password, and various strong authentication technologies can be used with both OpenID & SAML.

One resource online that really helped me frame some ideas was the Overlap of identity technologies article published on the Google OAuth & Federated Login Research site. This is an excellent summary authored by Eric Sachs, Ashish Jain, Paul Madsen. Thanks, guys.

I’m going to be giving a similar, but more authentication focused talk at CTST in New Orleans next Tuesday, May 5. Track D: Emerging Technology, D14: Smart Cards, Tokens & Digital Identity, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM. Hope to catch some of you out there.


23 responses to “Presentation on OpenID, SAML and Authentication

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