Understanding the Importance of Identity

By Jim Hietala and Ian Dobson, The Open Group

In May 2011, the Jericho Forum, a forum of The Open Group, published its Identity, Entitlement & Access (IdEA) commandments, which specified 14 design principles that are essential for identity management solutions to assure globally interoperable trusted identities in cyberspace. These IdEA commandments are aimed at IT architects and designers of both Identity Management and Access Management systems, but the  importance of “identity” extends to everyone – eBusiness managers, eCommerce operations, and individual eConsumers. In order to safeguard our ability to control and manage our own identity and privacy in online activities, we need every online user to support creating an Identity Ecosystem that satisfies these IdEA commandments.

We’re proud to announce that the Jericho Forum has created a series of five “Identity Key Concepts” videos to explain the key concepts that we should all understand on the topics of identity, entitlement, and access management in cartoon-style plain language.

The first installment in the series, Identity First Principles, available here and below, starts the discussion of how we identify ourselves. The video describes some fundamental concepts in identity, including core identity, identity attributes, personas, root identity, trust, attribute aggregation and primacy. These can be complex concepts for non-identity experts However, the cartoons describe the concepts in an approachable and easy-to-understand manner.

The remaining videos in the series cover the following concepts:

  • Video 2 – Operating with Personas
  • Video 3 – Trust and Privacy
  • Video 4 – The Bigger Picture, Entities and Entitlements
  • Video 5 – Building a Global Ecosystem

These identity cartoon videos will be published on successive Tuesdays over the next five weeks, so be sure to come back next Tuesday!

Jim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT security and risk management programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.


Ian Dobson is the director of the Security Forum and the Jericho Forum for The Open Group, coordinating and facilitating the members to achieve their goals in our challenging information security world.  In the Security Forum, his focus is on supporting development of open standards and guides on security architectures and management of risk and security, while in the Jericho Forum he works with members to anticipate the requirements for the security solutions we will need in future. 

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