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A SoftwareCEO Blog By Mike Desai

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This blog will share insights, best practices and anecdotes of how secure cloud identities can shorten time to revenue for software companies, speed user adoption and increase application stickiness for increased long-term customer value. This blog will include primers on technology and standards while providing commentary on current events relevant to identity in the software business.


2013: The Identity Silver Lining for SaaS in the Enterprise Clouds

The clouds have arrived. Whether public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud, enterprises are on-board with their transition to cloud. While cloud hype is still high, the move is clearly afoot and enterprises are quickly tapping into cloud services for all aspects of their business. However for most, it’s not an all-in play. So what does this mean for software executives?  Here’s what I see coming in 2013.

Going Hybrid
In 2013 as enterprises adopt cloud services, they’ll require the ability to easily integrate with their on-premise infrastructure that has been built over a decade (or longer). As such, cloud companies will look at on-premise capabilities to have the hybrid cloud approach that gives enterprise IT the security and controls they need and a migration path to the future. The fastest, easiest path to this is through identity management integration, using standards that enterprises require for future-proofing and interoperability. Most enterprises today use Active Directory, Google or Salesforce as their identity directory, so software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers would be wise to build/extend their software with that in mind, and turn to identity standards for the fastest path to get there.

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CloudCamp: A Lightning Talk on Security in the Cloud

I recently had the pleasure of participating in CloudCamp Silicon Valley at the Cloud Expo Nov. 5-8, tossing my hat in the ring for a ‘Lightning Talk' on "Security in the Cloud." With only five minutes to talk about cloud single sign-on (SSO), I covered as much ground as I could.


The Most Interesting Passwords


Here are the highlights on my presentation:
• The average corporate employee uses 15 SaaS apps
• Log-in screens and credential requirements of each are often quite different
• The traditional method of password management - sticky notes! - is simply not secure!
• A better, more secure SaaS user experience can be achieved through cloud SSO
• Removing the user from as much of the log-in process as possible is the key, and secure Internet SSO makes it possible

Here's how secure Internet SSO works
The enterprise, or identity provider (IdP), manages the users' credentials and provides information to the service provider (SP) for them to establish user sessions. This is accomplished by industry standards that help transfer identity information between IdP and SP completely behind the scenes without user intervention. It's a winning formula. Here's why:

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Salesforce Joins the Identity Party - What Does this Mean for You?

Last month at Dreamforce ‘12, Salesforce announced new services, including Salesforce Identity, a service that includes single sign-on (SSO) and user management capabilities. Salesforce Identity will leverage identity standards such as the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) for federation and System for Cross-Domain Identity Management (SCIM) for provisioning, which emphasizes the vital role of industry standards long-championed by Ping Identity.

When a major enterprise cloud computing company like Salesforce sets its sights on identity and SSO, it is a clear signal of how essential identity security is to today's socially-connected enterprise. At Ping, we welcome Salesforce to the identity community and applaud their commitment to industry standards.

Salesforce SSO enabling its platform presents tremendous opportunity for both application developers building on the platform and for enterprises seeking to tap into those apps that run critical business functions. If you are a company that manages your identity infrastructure in the Cloud and rely heavily on the Salesforce platform, a centralized place from which to manage identities is welcomed news.

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Cloud Computing Trends: A Look Back and A Look Forward

It was about this time last year that CompTIA compiled data for its 2011 Trends in Cloud Computing report. This annual report does a great job framing the key trends and influences in cloud computing usage from two perspectives: the end-user (IT and business professionals involved in IT decision making) and the channel (VARs, ISVs, MSPs etc). Taking both audiences into consideration provides a welcomed look at how technology impacts the entire business ecosystem – and cloud computing is at an important inflection point where companies are no longer just talking the talk, they are now walking the walk in the clouds.

So let us take a brief look at some of the findings released last year, and make some predictions on what the results may find in this year’s installment, which is likely under way as we speak.  Some things that stood out to me from the 2011 report findings:

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Three Reasons why the Midmarket is Full-Throttle on Cloud

Last month I attended the Midsize Enterprise Summit East 2012 event in New Orleans to connect with midmarket executives to understand what's driving their businesses forward, and how they are tapping into trends and technologies. Not only was it an informative event for insight into the issues, concerns and opportunities the midmarket faces, but it was fun too.  Ping Identity's Vice President of On-Demand Jonathan Buckley took it to heart, combining informative content on cloud computing for the midmarket with a harmonica-fueled ditty in honor of New Orleans and Jazz Week. For a break from the mundane, take a quick look at this 3-minute infotainment video on YouTube of his session. 

Back to business.

Fun aside, conversations throughout the event centered on cloud computing and cloud apps. There's no doubt the midmarket is driving the adoption of cloud computing, more so than their enterprise brethren. This presents a vibrant opportunity for Software as a Service (SaaS) providers.

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Please Get Your Password Out of My SaaS!

Cloud computing and mobility have transformed business, and how people use software to conduct business and life.  Layer in the connective and sharing nature of social media and we’re in the midst of a seismic shift in both personal and professional life, with a blurring of the lines that today’s connected enterprise cannot ignore.  The migration to the cloud impacts us all – pure-bred Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, legacy on-premise software that is core to business operations and mobile apps that put software in the palm of your hand – and has untethered users and pushed applications and data beyond traditional perimeters. 

The transformational power of the cloud is enabling greater employee productivity, driving increased partner value and accelerating the ability to conduct business and connect with people.  Software is integral to this cloud migration and any software company that hasn’t embraced cloud will be left behind.  At the heart of this migration are cloud identities

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