woensdag 20 april 2016

An unexpected ABAC challenge

Currently three of my assignments have an interesting similarity: attribute based access control, all at the same time. And for all customers the choice for ABAC is related to rebuilding the internal application landscape. These customers are not implementing ABAC to facilitate federation of external identities, they're implementing ABAC for internal users of internal systems. There are multiple drivers for this change. There is, of course, the desire to publish internal services to external parties, some day. But there's also the concept of service orientation and the use of service buses and web services. But the concept of separation of identity provisioning and service provisioning is gaining ground as well. Explaining the pro's and con's of ABAC for both business and ICT is no longer a mission impossible.

But at the same time I experienced that there is an interesting and unexpected blocking factor: the application developer. It seems that where both the business user and ICT operator like the added value of federation and ABAC, the application developer has some trouble to get a grasp of the new paradigm:
There is no login page for an app anymore, no users table, no account name or password to manage. How do you implement access control without  a user database and an authorization table with roles? And if users don't log on to your app, how do you know who they are?

An unexpected problem for sure. We need to educate developers as well, to ease the paradigm shift.

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