Identity management solutions need to find a common ground between usability and security. A very good article detailing the real world identity management solutions in place by some of the Fortune 500 companies illustrates that what is ideal and what is real may not always be the case. Especially now since even the term 'identity management' finds itself lacking a universal definition.
The complexity with identity management is that it first means usability. Convenience is key when trying to skim time and money off the top brought about by log-in difficulties for multiple applications. What sounds good to companies now is a single sign-on solution, maybe one for Windows apps and one for web services. The best way to describe something like this would be an organizational tool for speeding up business processes.
It's a management tool in that regard. But what it fails to do is 'identify'. Sure it does once, or twice, but after that, security is no longer a concern. It's an issue. It's something that's bound to be trampled on the first time someone figures out the single sign-on who doesn't belong. Once in, they have access to every application or service permitted.
At least places like BellSouth who are looking to an ID management system also are aware that thousands of customers could be at risk because they want to provide faster customer service. It doesn't have to be one or other - the safety of your confidential information against identity thieves or faster phone customer service - it can be both.
That being made apparent, one solution BellSouth is looking to add to their system is biometric technology. With that, a single sign-on identity solution can be secure, convenient and organized.
Identity management in the real world.
What's identity management? Ask 20 vendors, get 20 answers. But CSOs aren't waiting for a universal definition; they're busy tackling whatever projects meet their business needs.