A mechanism for managing of user access to information systems based on values of user attributes. Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) evaluates the access dynamically, using an algorithm that takes "attributes" as an input, and outputs access decision (allow/deny). The attributes are usually user attributes from the user profile, supplemented with context attributes, such as time of access and user's current location.
Access certification helps with management of access rights. These rights also called privileges, role assignments, authorities or authorizations need to be assigned to the right users in the right systems at the right time. Access Certification means reviewing the settings such as assignments of roles to users to make sure that employees have accesses to the systems they need.
Alternative terms: Access Re-certification, Re-certification, Attestation
Access control is an abstract concept of controlling access of users to applications. It is a very broad and general term, however it usually refers to a mechanism to define and evaluate authorization policies. Two commonly-used access control mechanisms are role-based access control (RBAC) and attribute-based access control (ABAC).
Access Management (AM) is a security discipline that provides access to authorised users to enter particular resources. It also prevents non-authorised users from accessing the resources. Thus the goal of Access Management is to unify the security mechanisms that take place when a user is accessing specific system or functionality. Single Sign-On (SSO) is sometimes considered to be a part of Access Management.
Data structure in a database, file or a similar data store that describes characteristics of a user of a particular system (resource). Accounts are used to control access of users to applications, databases and so on. Account is a persistent data record, stored in an application or a database. This term is usually not used to describe ephemeral information about user's identity, such as information temporarily stored only for the duration of user's session. Such information is often referred to as "principal". Account is different from a generic data record (e.g. "identity" or "principal"). The purpose of account is to provide user's access to the system, generic data record may not provide such access.
In midPoint terminology: An account strictly means a data structure in source/target system (resource). Term "user" is used to describe a similar data structure in midPoint itself.
An identity repository created by Microsoft that stores and arranges identity information. Based on this information, it provides access and permissions to users to enter particular resources and therefore improves organization’s security.
Active entity, usually a software component that plays an active part. In identity management field, the term "agent" often means an active software component installed into a controlled system, used to mediate management of identities. It is similar in function to identity connector, however unlike the connector, the agent has to be installed into a controlled system.
Set of procedures, functions or methods that can be used by another program or component. APIs are usually interfaces exposed by an application, meant to be used by other application. Therefore APIs are important integration points between applications and services. In the past, APIs were usually created as a programming language library, such as C or Java library. Since c. 2010, APIs usually take form of HTTP-based RESTful service.
Authentication is a mechanism by which a computer system checks that the user is really the one she or he claims to be. Authentication can be implemented by a broad variety of mechanisms broadly divided into three categories: something you know, something you have, something you are. Traditionally, authentication is done by the means of by username and password. Authentication is often followed by authorization, however, authentication and authorization are two separate mechanisms.
ISO 24760 term, describing "identity information" created to record result of authentication. This may mean data such as authentication strength, timestamps and similar information. In software development, it is often referred to as "authenticated user" or "authenticated principal".
Alternative terms: Authenticated user, Authenticated principal
Authorization is a mechanism by which a computer system determines whether to allow or deny specific action to a user. Authorization is often controlled by rather complex rules and algorithms, usually specified as part of an access control model. Authorization often follows (and required) authentication, however, authentication and authorization are two separate mechanisms. In rare cases, "authorization" is understood as a process of allowing access, granting permissions or giving approval. Such as "authorization" of a request to join a group.
A system that provides authorization information to an application. It usually makes a decision whether a specific operation should be allowed or denied by the application. I.e. authorization system is performing the authorization decision instead of the application. Authorization systems often use complex policy, user roles or additional attributes to make the decision. Authorization servers usually implement functionality of Policy Decision Point (PDP). Typical protocols and frameworks: XACML, Open Policy Agent (OPA), SAML authorization assertions, proprietary mechanisms
A method to provide strictly limited information to another party, without revealing any unintended information. Blinded affirmation is often used to demonstrate that a certain user is a member of an organization, without revealing any additional information about the user to a third party. Blinded affirmation usually relies on ephemeral identifiers or pseudonyms.
Entity that issues digital certificates. Certificate authority is usually a trusted third party, certifying correctness of the data presented in certificates that it issues. The most common form of certificate authority is an authority that issues X.509 digital certificates, containing public keys. Certificate authority signs the certificates, thus certifying that a specified public key belongs to a specified identity.
Internet-based computing when resources like storage, applications or servers are used by organizations or users via Internet. Data could be accessed any time from any place, without any installations and is stored and processed in third-party data centers which could be located anywhere in the world. Cloud computing is considered to lower organization’s costs by avoiding the need of purchasing servers as well as to speed up the processes with less maintenance needed. Due to data being centralized at one place, it is considered to be secure and easily shared across bigger amount of users.
Authorization concerning big architectural blocks, such as entire applications or systems. E.g. coarse-grain authorization usually decides whether a user can access an application, or access should be denied, without providing any additional details. Coarse-grained authentication is usually being made at the "perimeter" of the system, e.g. by infrastructure components, when a user is accessing an application. Typically, this authorization is based on simple policy rules, such as a role or group assigned to the user.
ConnId is an open source identity connector framework project. It originated from Identity Connector Framework (ICF) developed by Sun Microsystems in late 2000s. ConnId is an now an independent open source project, used by several identity management platforms.
Consent for personal data processing is given by a user, to indicate agreement for processing of personal data. In personal data protection frameworks (such as GDPR), consent has a strict structure, it is given for a very specific processing scope. Consent can be revoked by the user any time. Consent is just one of several personal data processing bases (lawful bases). Consent is perhaps the most well know, and also the most misused basis for personal data processing.
Information used to prove the identity during authentication. Credentials can be digital (information), physical (an object such as ID card) or a combination of both (an ID card with a tamper-proof chip containing cryptographic keys). Perhaps the most common type of digital credential is a password.
Anything that involves interaction between two or more domains. Specifically in context of identity and access management, it usually means transfer of information between domains that are under separate control, or transfer of information that needs to be somehow limited (e.g. only a subset of attributes is transferred). Cross-domain techniques employ special mechanism to protect the information, or to make transfer between domains more reliable or secure. For example, special identifiers (often ephemeral pseudonyms) are used to refer to identity data.
A process of reducing the amount of data to the necessary minimum required for processing. Data minimization often takes place in context of privacy and personal data protection, minimizing identity data to the necessary minimum.
Organization or entity that have created or assigned a particular value. Origin is often part of data provenance, description of the method how a value was acquired by a system. Origin may be relative, describing only an immediate origin of the information, a "previous hop, a system that have relayed the information to our system. Such origin may not have created or assigned the information, it may have only relayed or copied the information originated in a third system. Origin is often recorded in a form of metadata.
Description of the method how a value was acquired by a system. Provenance information almost always contains description of data origin. It is supplemented by additional information, such as timestamps and assurance information. Provenance may be relative, describing only an immediate origin of the information, a "previous hop, a system that have relayed the information to our system. In other cases, provenance information may include a complete path from the ultimate origin of the information, describing all the systems that it has passed and all the transformations that were applied. Provenance is often recorded in a form of metadata.
An identifier that does not require centralized registration authority. Technologies supporting decentralized identifiers vary, many of them are based on distributed ledger technologies (e.g. blockchain).
Digital representation of identity: set of characteristics, qualities, believes and behaviors of en entity, usually represented as a set of attributes. Digital identity should not be confused with identifier. Digital identity is a set of characteristics (complex data), while identifier is (usually simple) value used to refer to digital identity.
Alternative terms: Identity, Network Identity, User Profile
Digital document, containing an information protected by cryptographic means. Digital certificates are usually used to bind an information to a digital identity. Perhaps the most common use of certificates are certificates of public keys, binding public key to identity of the owner, signed by a trusted third party (certificate authority). The most prominent specification of a format of such digital certificate is X.509.
A database intended as a store of simple objects, shared between applications. Directory services are often used to store identity data. The data are used by other applications, that are accessing the directory service by using a well-known protocol. Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is the most common protocol used to access directory services. Directory services used to be the usual method to implement functionality of identity data store. However, other databases and technologies are used to implement similar functionality.
An environment under an autonomous control. A domain is often an organization, managing a set of information systems and databases, keeping the information consistent. However, it may also refer to a smaller information set within an organization, such as a single database or directory server. Identifiers are often designed to be unique within a particular domain, such as an organization or a database.
Alternative terms: Domain of applicability, Realm, Context, Scope
A process of entering new identity data into a specific system (usually in a domain). Enrollment usually involves validation and verification of the information and its origin, such as verification of identity assertion that relied the information to the system. The terms "enrollment", "registration" and "onboarding" are overlapping and they are often used as synonyms. Strictly speaking, "enrollment" is the verification process, "registration" is an act of recording information to data store, and "onboarding" is a complete business process making sure that a new person in an organization is well-equipped for activities within the organization.
A privilege or right of access given to the user. An "entitlement" is a very overloaded term. It can be used to represent any kind of privilege, ranging from a very high-level business role to the finest filesystem permission in a specific system.
In midPoint terminology: An Entitlement is a resource object representing privilege, access right, resource-side role, group or any similar concept. However, unlike account, the entitlement does not represent a user.
Being (su as person or animal), thing, concept or anything else that has recognizably distinct existence. An entity is usually described by a set of characteristics, known as its identity. An entity can have several identities.
An identifier used only for a very short duration. Ephemeral identifiers are valid usually only during a single session, or even during a single protocol exchange (e.g. authentication). Ephemeral identifiers are almost always randomly-chosen. When ephemeral identifiers refer to a digital identity, they are efficiently a short-lived pseudonyms.
Digital identity intended to be used in several domains, usually by the means of identity federation. Information about federated identity is transferred between domains, usually in a form of identity assertions exchanged between identity providers and relying parties.
Authorization made on very detailed information and is providing more detail control within the application operation. E.g. authorization to approve the transaction in an accounting system, with amount up to a certain limit. Typically, fine-grain authorization requires detailed knowledge of both the user profile (attributes) and the operation context (operation name, parameters and their meaning). Due to this requirement, fine-grain application is often implemented directly in application code.
Fulfillment is a functionality of identity management (IDM) system, making sure that users have appropriate access to systems. Simply speaking, this is the functionality that creates accounts, associates them with entitlements (e.g. groups), modifies passwords, enables/disables accounts and deletes them in the end. Fulfillment is a name used for identity provisioning together with deprovisioning and associated activities.
General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) is European Union regulation on personal data protection and privacy. It defines rules for processing of personal data in European Union, European Economic Area, with provisions of the regulation applicable to other parties as well.
Governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) is a discipline that helps organizations to have more control over processes and be more effective. Governance is the set of decisions and actions by which individual processes as well as the whole organization are lead to achieve specific goals. Risk management identifies, predicts and prioritizes risks with aim to minimize them or avoid their negative influence on organizations' aims. Compliance means following certain rules, regulations or procedures. A GRC software facilitates this problematic by taking care of all three parts by one single solution. It is a very helpful tool for business executives, managers or IT directors. Thanks to it it is possible to define, enforce, audit and review policies responsible for the exchange of information between internal systems as well as between the external ones.
A value, or a set of values, that uniquely identify an identity in a certain scope. An identity usually have several identifiers, used in various situations and contexts. Identifiers may be compound, composed of several values.
A process of recognizing an identity as distinct from other identities in a particular scope or context. Identification is almost always performed by processing identifiers, using them to reference an identity in an identity database. Identification is a process distinct from authentication. Authentication is a process of proving an identity (verification), whereas identification does not assume any such proof. The term "identification" usually refers to a process of looking up identity data based on a simple identifier, such as username or reference identifier. In some cases, process of identification involves a correlation, looking up or matching identity information in a more complex way. For example, a system may compare registration data entered by the user with the content of its identity database, in an attempt to determine whether such user is already registered.
The fact of being who or what a person or thing is. Set of characteristics, qualities, believes, behaviors and other aspects of en entity. Identity can be applied to persons, things, even intangible concepts, known as entities. An entity can have several identities (often known as personas). In context of information technologies, parts of identity can be usually represented in a form of digital record, known as digital identity. Identity should not be confused with identifier. Identity is a set of characteristics, while identifier is a value used to refer to identity.
Identity and access management (IAM) is a field concerned with managing identities (e.g. users) and their access to systems and applications. IAM is concerned with all the aspects dealing with "identity", with many subfields that specialize in selected aspects. Access management deals (AM) especially with access to applications, including authentication and (partially) authorization. Identity management and governance (IGA) deals with management of user data (e.g. user profiles), synchronization of identity data and applying policies. Other IAM subfields deal with storage of identity data, transfer of the data over the network and so on.
Statement made by an identity provider regarding properties or behavior of an identity. Assertions are used by relying parties. The most common assertion is perhaps authentication assertion, relying information about authentication event from identity provider to relying party. Assertions may contain other information as well, usually identity attributes and authorization decisions.
Process of comparing identity information, with an aim to find a matching identity. Correlation is usually employed during identity enrollment or registration, when a system determines whether the new identity is already known to the system. For example, a system may compare registration data entered by the user with the content of its identity database, in an attempt to determine whether such user is already registered. If such a comparison involves simple and reliable identifiers (such as username or employee number), it is called "identification". However, in many cases such identifiers are not available, and the system needs to combine several identifiers or employ sophisticated techniques to find matching identity. Some identity correlation techniques involve probabilistic matching techniques or machine learning methods to find suitable candidates, which are later reviewed by human operator.
Usually small and simple unit of code that connects to a remote system. The purpose of identity connector is to retrieve and manage identity information, such as information about user accounts, groups and organizational units. The connectors are usually written for and managed by a particular connector framework.
Generally speaking, a programing framework (library) for creating and managing identity connectors. However, this rather generic term often refers to the Identity Connector Framework (ICF), originally developed by Sun Microsystem in 2000s. The ICF was releases as an open source project by Sun, only to be later abandoned after Sun-Oracle merger. The ICF was a base for several forks, including ConnId and OpenICF.
A system that is the source of identity data, usually data about users. The data are usually created and maintained in such systems manually. There are often multiple identity data sources in an organization with various characteristics. Some data sources are considered authoritative, providing reliable information about identities. Other data sources usually contain user-provided information, such as data entered by the user during registration process. Almost all data sources contain partial information only, information that is limited both in breadth (only some identity types) and depth (only some attributes). Data source may be an intermediary, providing information acquired from other systems.
A database, designed and/or dedicated to store identity-related data. Identity data store is usually shared among many applications, it is accessed by many systems reading the data. Applications read data from identity data stores, often using them for authorization, and sometimes even authentication purposes. Structure of data in the data store is often application-friendly, containing pre-processed and derived information. Identity data store also usually contain entitlements, or similar information that can be used for authorization purposes. There are usually several identity data stores in an organization, managed and synchronized by an identity management system. Traditionally, directory servers (such as LDAP serves) are used as identity data stores. Identity data store is similar to identity register, and in fact many identity data stores are identity registers. The difference is that identity register has a more formal data structure, usually functioning as an authoritative data source. Whereas identity data store usually contains information copied from other system, including application-friendly derived data. However, the exact boundary between functions of identity register and identity data store is not exactly defined.
Alternative terms: Identity Store, Identity Database, Directory Service
Identity deprovisioning is as well as identity provisioning a subfield of Identity and Access Management (IAM). It is an opposite to identity provisioning. While identity provisioning takes care of creating new accounts, determining the roles for individual users and their rights or making changes in them, deprovisioning works oppositely. When an employee leaves the company, his account is deactivated or deleted and he loses all the accesses to both internal and external systems. This way organization minimizes information theft and stays secure. Identity provisioning together with deprovisioning and associated activities is known as "fulfillment".
Identity federation is an agreement between several domains, specifying the details of exchange and use of shared identity information. The information in identity federation is usually transferred by the means of identity assertions, exchanged between identity providers and relying parties. From user's point of view, identity federation is a process of sharing user’s identification and personal data between multiple systems and between organizations, so the user doesn’t have to register for each organization separately and can seamlessly access systems in federated organizations.
Business aspect of managing identities including business processes, rules, policies and organizational structures. Any complete solution for management of identities consists of two major parts – identity governance and identity management.
Set of identity stages from creation to its deactivation or deletion. It contains creation of an account, assignment of correct groups and permissions, setting and resetting passwords and in the end deactivation or deletion of the account.
Identity Management (IDM) is a process of managing digital identities and their accesses to specific resources in the cyberspace. It ensures appropriate access in appropriate time and helps to manage user accounts as well as to synchronize data. Identity management deals with digital identity lifecycle, managing values of digital identity attributes and entitlements.
Alternative terms: Identity Administration, User management, User provisioning
A system that provides identity management functionality: it is managing identities and their accesses to specific resources in the cyberspace. It ensures appropriate access in appropriate time and helps to manage user accounts as well as to synchronize data. Identity management (IDM) systems are concerned about the "management" side, maintaining user data, policies, roles, entitlements and so on. IDM systems usually do not "apply" or enforce the policies. The policies are transformed as needed and provisioned to other systems (a.k.a. "target systems") that interpret and enforce the policies. The process of provisioning (and "deprovisioning") of data and policies is known as "fulfillment". In a broad sense, IDM systems are used to manage the policies and data in all connected systems in the organization. IDM systems make sure that the data are consistent, that all the policies are applied, that user profile data are up to date, detecting and removing illegal access and generally keep all identity-related information in order across all the systems. Note: ISO 24760 definition seems to include identification and authentication as functions of identity management systems. While almost all IDM systems implement such functions, they are mostly used for internal purposes, e.g. for system administration access. IDM system usually do not provide identification and authentication services to other systems. ISO 24760 definition is closer to definition of identity and access management (IAM) system. However, complete IAM functionality is usually provided by a combination of several systems in practice.
Alternative terms: IDM System, Provisioning System, User Provisioning System
System that provides identity-related information to applications (known in this context as "relying party" or "service provider"). Such information usually includes user identifiers (which may be ephemeral), user name(s) and affiliation. The information is usually provided in form of identity assertions (claims). Identity providers are often authenticating the users. In that case, identity providers usually include information describing the authentication, such as statement that user was authenticated and indication of authentication mechanism strength. Identity provider authenticates the users in its own capacity, it never reveals user's credentials to the application (relying party). In fact, many identity providers are focused on authentication only, providing only a very minimal identity information (often just a single identifier), in which case the authentication-related information forms the most important part of provided information. Such identity providers effectively work as cross-domain single sign-on (SSO) systems. Although most identity providers include user authentication, there are also providers that do not (directly) authenticate the users, sometimes called "attribute providers". Identity provider may provide also additional information of the user to the application, such as information about user attributes and entitlements. Identity provider is often managed by a different organization than the relying applications (service providers), thus providing cross-domain identity mechanism. Typical protocols and frameworks used by identity providers include: SAML, OpenID Connect, CAS
In broad sense, identity provisioning is a subfield of Identity Management (IDM), concerned with technical aspects of creating user accounts, groups and other objects in target systems. It is a technology thanks to which many identity stores are synchronized, merged and maintained. Identity provisioning takes care of technical tasks during the whole user lifecycle - when new employee is hired, when his responsibilities change or he leaves the company (deprovisioning). It helps the organization to work more effectively as its goal is to automate as much as possible. The provisioning system usually takes information about employees from the Human Resource (HR) system. When new employee is recorded into HR system, this information is detected and pulled by the provisioning system. After that, it is processed to determine set of roles each user should have. These roles determine and create accounts users should have, so everything is ready for new users on the very first day. If a user is transferred to another department or his privileges change, similar processes happen again. If an employee leaves the company, identity provisioning systems makes sure all his accounts are closed. In a specific sense, identity provisioning means a process of creating accounts, assigning entitlements and similar actions, making sure a user has appropriate access to information systems. Identity provisioning together with deprovisioning and associated activities is known as "fulfillment".
Alternative terms: User provisioning, Provisioning
A repository (database) of identity information, usually structured in a formal manner. Identity registers are almost always indexed using a reference identifier. They are usually designed for a specific purpose of being an authoritative data sources for other systems. Identity register is similar to identity data store, and in fact many identity registers function as identity data stores. The difference is that identity data store has less formal, usually application-friendly data structure, containing pre-processed and derived information. Identity data store also usually contain entitlements, or information that can be used for authorization purposes. However, the exact boundary between functions of identity register and identity data store is not exactly defined.
Alternative terms: IMS Register, Reference Register
A process of recording new identity data into identity register or identity data store. Registration process may involve storing the information is several distinct data stores or registers. The recording process may be indirect, e.g. mediated by synchronization process of an identity management system. Informally, the registration process often involves the data acquisition process as well, such as asking user for the data using a form. The terms "enrollment", "registration" and "onboarding" are overlapping and they are often used as synonyms. Strictly speaking, "enrollment" is the verification process, "registration" is an act of recording information to data store, and "onboarding" is a complete business process making sure that a new person in an organization is well-equipped for activities within the organization.
In IAM field, a Resource is usually an network-accessible asset capable of managing identity information.
In midPoint terminology: An Resource is a system that is either identity data source or provisioning target. IDM system (midPoint) is managing accounts in that system, feeding data from that system or doing any other combination of identity management operations. Identity resource should not be confused with "web resource" that is used by RESTful APIs.
Alternative terms: Provisioning Resource, Resource
Identity governance and administration (IGA) si a subfield of identity and access management (IAM) dealing with management and governance of identity-related information. IGA systems store, synchronize and manage identity information, such as user profiles. Complex data, entitlement and governance polices can be defined, applied to identity data. IGA system are responsible for evaluating the policies, making sure the data are compliant, addressing policy violations. IGA is often considered an umbrella term covering identity management, identity governance, compliance management, identity-based risk management and other aspects related to management of identities. Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) includes both the technical and business aspects of identity management.
Measure of reliability of identity information. Information with low levels of assurance are usually user-provided information that were not verified in any significant way. Higher levels of assurance are usually achieved by identity proofing, a process of verifying the information. Level of assurance is usually stored as metadata, describing the specific value that was verified.
Manual process of creating, updating and deleting accounts, entitlements and similar objects, driven by identity management system, but exexcuted by human operator. Manual fulfillment is initiated by an identity management system, usually as a consequence of change in user privileges or policies. Identity management system creates a ticket for system administrators, containing instructions to create/modify/delete an acccount or entitlement in a specific information system. Actual action is executed manually, by the system administrator. Manual fulfillment is used for systems, for which automatic identity connector is not available.
Alternative terms: Manual Provisioning/deprovisioning, Manual resource, Manual connector
A principle, stating that only the minimal amount of information is disclosed as is required to perform a specific function or provide a service. Minimal disclosure principle is often used in cross-domain data transfer, such as when using identity providers or identity federations. Only the information required to perform a service is disclosed to the other party, no extra information is provided.
Alternative terms: Minimal Disclosure of Personal Information
Authentication process in which all involved parties authenticate to all other parties. Usually a two-sided process, where both sides of a connection authenticate to each other, i.e. server authenticates to client and client authenticates to server.
Business process that takes place when a person leaves an organization. The aim of offboarding is making sure that the person no longer has access to sensitive data and premises of the organization. From IT point of view, this often means identity de-provisioning, e.i. deactivation of user accounts in various applications, databases and identity data stores. This process is often automated using an identity management system. However, a complete offboarding process is usually more complex, including non-IT steps such as returning the provided equipment.
Business process that takes place when a new person enters an organization. The aim of onboarding is making sure that the person is well-equipped for any tasks and activities within the organization. From IT point of view, this often means identity provisioning, e.i. creation of user accounts in various applications, databases and identity data stores. This process is often automated using an identity management system. However, a complete onboarding process is usually more complex, including non-IT steps such as providing the person with appropriate equipment and training. The terms "enrollment", "registration" and "onboarding" are overlapping and they are often used as synonyms. Strictly speaking, "enrollment" is the verification process, "registration" is an act of recording information to data store, and "onboarding" is a complete business process making sure that a new person in an organization is well-equipped for activities within the organization.
The meaning of this term is very simple - it is something people can wilfully modify according to their own needs or wishes. Firstly, this term was known in the context of software, which code was publicly exposed and available for modification. Later open source spread widely. There are open source projects, products, participations and many others. Many organizations and people choose open source software, hence it is considered to be more secured and grants people more control over it. This software can also be more stable as many other people may contribute their own ideas, correct it or improve it. Open source products are free and the creators usually charge other organizations for support or software services as implementation or deployment.
Alternative terms: Open Source Software, FOSS, Free and Open Source Software
A hierarchical arrangement of authority, rights or duties in an organization. It determines the assignment, control or coordination of roles, responsibilities and power. A character of the organizational structure is highly dependant on the organization’s strategy and goals. The theme of organizational structure is closely linked to identity management. Organizing the company into this structure, assigning rights to individuals, working groups or project and controlling everything from one place – that are advantages that any high quality IDM solution is supposed to provide.
An account without an owner, an account that does not seem to belong to anybody. Orphan accounts often originate as testing accounts that are not deleted after the testing is done. They may also belong to former users, but were not properly deleted or disabled. Orphan accounts are almost always a security risk, especially testing accounts with weak passwords. Most identity management systems have processes that scan systems for orphan accounts.
Gives the organization an opportunity to meet the highest security standards thanks to the ability of having access to business systems and networks under control. Most of the employees usually pick just simple passwords and use same ones in multiple systems or applications. Password management helps to compose strong and unique passwords for both users and resources and ideally takes care of them during the whole user life cycle.
Functional component with a responsibility to enforce policy decisions. The "policy" usually refers to access control and/or authorization policy. Policy enforcement points are usually part of applications or infrastructure components, with an ability to analyze and intercept policed operation. Policy enforcement point only enforces the policy, it does not interprets or decides the policy. PEP depends on policy decision point (PDP) to interpret the policy and make a decision.
An identifier that cannot be changed or re-assigned to another identity. Once assigned, the identifier always references the same identity. Persistent identifiers are usually used as reference identifiers, and reference identifiers are usually persistent, resulting in "persistent reference identifiers". Depending on a policy, persistent identifiers can be re-assign to another identity after the original identity was deleted (identifier re-use). However, there is usually relatively long interval during which the identifier cannot be re-assigned.
Data about a person, usually processed in an information system. The definition of "personal data" slightly differ from case to case. For example, GDPR defines personal data as "any information which are related to an identified or identifiable natural person". However, the general understanding is that "personal data" are any data that relate to a natural person, that describe the person in some way. This is different from personally identifiable information (PII), as personal data may not uniquely identify a person. For example, person's full name is considered personal data, however, a name such as "John Smith" is not entirely unique or identifiable in most contexts.
Alternative terms: Personal information, Identity data, Identity information, Personal profile
Basis for processing of personal data. Legal data protection frameworks (such as GDPR) usually mandate that personal data cannot be processed unless there is a basis for that processing. The basis may be a contract, legal obligation, consent, or similar legitimate interest for processing of the data. Some frameworks (such as GDPR) are enumerating the available processing bases.
Alternative terms: Basis for processing, Legal basis, Lawful basis
Personal data protection is a field dealing with protection of personal information, rules for their processing, storage and erasure. It is closely related to privacy, as one of the main goals of personal data protection is to limit exposure of personal data, thus minimizing potential for their abuse.
Information that allows a person to be (directly or indirectly) identified. Obviously, government-issued identifiers, such as birth numbers, social security numbers or serial numbers of various identity documents are usually considered to be personally identifiable information. However, interpretation of what information is "personally identifiable" depends on the context. Even a simple full name of a person may be considered personally identifiable information in some contexts. Personally identifiable information usually require special protection or processing regime. Personally identifiable information should not be confused with personal data. PII are used as an identifier, pointing out a specific person in a group of other persons. Personal data describe certain person, there is no requirement for personal data to be "identifiable".
Functional component with a responsibility to interpret policy and make decisions. The "policy" usually refers to access control and/or authorization policy. Policy decision point (PDP) can be part of applications, or they may be provided by dedicated infrastructure components (authorization services). PDP interprets the policy and make a decision, which is usually allow/deny decision. PDP does not enforce the decision, it relies on policy enforcement point (PEP) to enforce it. PDP does not define or manage the policy either, it depends on policy management point (PMP) to set the policy.
Functional component with a responsibility to specify, manage and maintain the policy. The "policy" usually refers to access control and/or authorization policy. Policy management point (PMP) can be part of applications, or they may be provided by dedicated infrastructure components (identity management and governance components). PMP specifies the policy, usually as a result of interaction with an administrator by the means user interface. PMP does not make policy decisions or enforce them, that is a responsibility of policy decision point (PMP) and policy enforcement point (PEP) respectively.
Set of operations defining the authorization roles or policies, or assigning roles to the particular users. This is often manual or semi-manual operation performed in identity management system or identity data store. Policy management is implementing the functionality of Policy Management Point (PMP). This term is often confused with authorization itself. However, policy management aims at definition of the policy, while authorization is interpreting the policy.
A built-in data type for polymorphic string maintaining extra values in addition to its original value. The extra values are derived from the original value automatically using a normalization code. PolyString supports national characters in strings. It contains both the original value (with national characters) and normalized value (without national characters). This can be used for transliteration of national characters in usernames. All the values are stored in the repository, therefore they can be used to look for the object. Search ignoring the difference in diacritics or search by transliterated value can be used even if the repository itself does not support such feature explicitly.
An entity or identity, information about which is managed in an information system. Usage of the term "principal" varies significantly. Depending on context, it may refer to entity (person), its identity or data structure describing parts of the identity (digital identity). In information security frameworks (such as X.509), "principal" usually refers to entity or identity, such as owner of credentials. In programming frameworks, "principal" usually refers to ephemeral information about user, maintained during user's session. This is usually different from "account", as accounts are usually persistent (stored in database), while principal may be ephemeral, or may refer to entities that are not users of the system (may not be able to log in). In some contexts, "principal" is equivalent to "subject".
The right to be left alone. In IT context, privacy is an ability of individuals to control the information about themselves, to choose how the information is used to express their individuality. Technologies that support the concept of privacy are known as privacy-enhancing technologies (PET).
Technologies that support and enhance privacy. This usually means technologies that give an individual an effective control over personal data, and the way how that are use to express one's individuality. Most privacy-enhancing technologies are focused on limiting the spread of personal data, making sure that only a minimal amount of data is disclosed (minimal disclosure), making sure that user approves data transfer (consent), using pseudonyms and various anonymization techniques to limit data exposure. Privacy-enhancing technologies are somewhat different from personal data protection technologies. While privacy-enhancing technologies are focused on limiting exposure of the data (secrecy), data protection technologies are focused on controlling the way how data are used.
An identifier designed to avoid any inherent information about identity or entity. Pseudonyms are meant to hide or modify perception of the entity or identity, as presented to other parties. In user experience sense, pseudonyms can be chosen by the user to hide or alter their real identity in information systems. In implementation sense, pseudonym is often a randomly-generated identifier, used selectively for communication with specific domain or system. The pseudonym is used instead of other identifiers to avoid possibility of the other party to reveal parts of user's identity or correlate user's actions.
A mechanism for managing of user access to information systems based on a concept of roles. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is using roles to group privileges. Roles usually represent meaningful entities, such as job positions, organizational affiliations or similar business concepts. One of the basic assumptions of RBAC is that management of roles is much easier as management of individual entitlements. A form of RBAC is standardized in a series of NIST standards (INCITS 359-2012). RBAC is mostly concerned with using the roles to control user access to the system and other information assets. Role definitions are usually maintained using a somehow separate "Role Management" mechanisms.
An identifier that reliably references an identity in a particular scope. Once assigned, the identifier always references the same identity, it cannot be assigned to a different identity. Reference identifiers are often persistent, however, they can change, as long as the identifier is not re-assigned to other identity. Depending on a policy, reference identifiers can be re-assign to another identity after the original identity was deleted (identifier re-use). However, there is usually relatively long interval during which the identifier cannot be re-assigned.
Consistency constraint in a database, mandating that every reference points to a valid object. Simply speaking, when an identifier is used to reference another object, such objects should exist. Referential integrity is often a concern in group management and directory services. Systems that provide referential integrity make sure that a group points to valid members (user that exist), or that a list of user groups points to valid groups. In case a user who is a member of a group is removed, a system with referential integrity will either automatically remove the user from the group, or it will deny the operation until user is explicitly removed from all groups first. Systems that do not provide referential integrity would allow such operation, leaving invalid identifier in the database, an identifier that does not point to any existing object.
An entity that gathers and verifies identity information, for the purposes of enrollment and identity registration. Registration authority is usually the organization that carries out identity proofing by verifying identity evidence, such as national identity cards.
System that relies on other party (identity provider) to provide identity information. Relying party (also known as "service provider") usually relies on identity provider to authenticate the user, and relay the information to the relying party. Relying party has no access to credentials (e.g. passwords), it only knows that the authentication was successful. Identity provider may transfer identity attributes and additional information (such as authorization decisions) to the relying party. Relying party usually has a trust relationship with identity provider.
In generic terms, a Resource is any information asset, system or a service that can be meaningfully used to obtain an information, or to initiate an action. Web resources are often used to access information across World Wide Web, e.g. in a form of RESTful interfaces. In IAM field, a Resource (Identity Resource) is usually an network-accessible asset capable of managing identity information.
In midPoint terminology: A Resource is a system that is either identity data source or provisioning target.
Alternative terms: Information Resource, Data Resource
Architectural style that describes fundamental principles of World Wide Web (WWW). REST architectural style was used to develop HTTP protocol, fundamental building block of WWW. REST specifies a concept of resource (web resource), identified by Unified Resource Locator (URL), access by unified interface. Although REST is designed for hypertext applications, some of the REST principles are used for general-purpose programming interfaces, known as "RESTful" services or APIs.
Alternative terms: Representational State Transfer
Usually a general-purpose programming interface (API) or network service, exposed by one application to be used by another application. RESTful services are based on operations of HTTP protocols such as GET, PUT and POST. RESTful services are using Unifier Resource Locators (URLs) as addressing scheme, and also for the purposes of conveying some parameters. Despite the name, RESTful services actually do not strictly follow principles of REST architectural style. REST architectural style is designed for use in hypertext applications, while most RESTful services are procedural in nature. Therefore most RESTful services adapt and bind the REST principles for their purposes. Despite such deformations, RESTful services provide a very popular method for application-to-application interaction over the Internet.
Abstract concept that usually groups entitlements (privileges, access rights) in a single object. The purpose of grouping entitlements in roles is to make access control policies manageable, usually using Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) principles.
A process of managing role definitions. It usually includes creating role definitions, maintenance of role definitions, adapting to changed environment and decommissioning role definitions. Role management is concerned with role definitions only, in contrast with Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), which is mostly concerned in using the definitions to control the access.
Description of a structure of information, such as description of data types, attribute names and types, attribute structure and multiplicity, often supplemented by additional information such as documentation and presentation metadata. In information systems designed to process identity information, the schema usually refers to structure of digital identity data, names of identity attributes, their types, multiplicity, optionality and similar properties.
A mechanism that gives person a control over the sharing of data, usually between domains. Selective disclosure is sometimes applied in cross-domain data transfer, such as when using identity providers or identity federations. In case of data transfer, the user is prompted to select that data that can be disclosed to the other domain. This process is sometimes automatic, governed by a pre-defined data disclosure policy.
Alternative terms: Selective Disclosure of Personal Information
An identity (usually a digital identity) that an entity declares about itself. It usually means a set of digital identity attributes that an entity claimed about itself, without being verified of certified by any other party.
Single sign-on (SSO) is an authentication process based on user logging into multiple systems with single set of credentials (usually username and password)s. It is used for systems that require authentication for each application while using the same credentials. SSO works on central service from where the user gains access to different applications without logging in again. Unlike identity providers, SSO systems usually operate within a single domain. Both the SSO server and the applications being controlled by the same organization. Implicit trust of such arrangement allows SSO systems to be much simpler than identity federation systems, albeit both classes of systems provide similar services and mechanisms.
An entity or identity, which is active in information system, typically a user. It is assumed that subject has an agency, directly or indirectly. Subjects can represent organizations or similar "legal persons" that cannot act on their own, users have to act on their behalf. In this case the organization is the "subject", while the person that acts on organization behalf is the "user". The term "subject" is often used in context of authorization, as part of subject-action-object triple. Subject is the active part, a user executing certain action on a specific object. In some contexts, "subject" is equivalent to "principal".
In IAM field, it is any system in which identity management (IDM) system is managing identity data. IDM system is usually using identity connectors to manage data in target systems. Some target systems can also be (partial) identity data sources, IDM system both managing and reading the data.
Confidence in or reliance on some person or quality. In information technology world, it usually means a confidence in a correctness of an information. It is often a long-term relationship between entities, one of the entity trusting in correctness of a whole class of information claimed by other entity (trusted third party).
A process establishing that a particular information is correct, while the meaning of "information" and "correct" varies from context to context. When dealing with identity information, this usually means formal verification of identity attributes, checking the schema, identifier uniqueness and referential integrity. However, verification may mean deeper verification, such as checking that the information is true and up-to-date.