Gartner Research

Developing an Identity Management Applications Taxonomy

Published: 18 December 2002

ID: G00204092

Analyst(s): Douglas Moench


As IT architects and security officers implement identity management services application developers, application buyers, and systems integrators are faced with the decision of how, or whether, to leverage these services. It is important for applications to interface with the infrastructure at an appropriate level, whether through directory services, access management services, provisioning services, portals, or a combination of theses methods. In "Developing an Identity Management Applications Taxonomy," Senior Consultant Doug Moench discusses criteria for selecting appropriate directory, authentication, authorization, and PKI services for different types of applications. Moench recommends planners use an "Application Taxonomy" tool in conjunction with Burton Group's Directory and Security Strategies Reference Architecture, and gives an example of this approach. Using an Application Taxonomy, IT architects or security officers can better group and classify applications based on their identity management needs, and develop guidelines for application developers, buyers, or integrators.

Table Of Contents


Identify the General Characteristics of Each Application

  • Application Type and Purpose
  • User Base
  • Platform, Development Environment, and Available Tools
  • Version
  • Access Method
  • Data Considerations
    • Data Classification
    • Identity Source
  • PKI Impacts

Authentication Levels

  • Anonymous Access (No Authentication)
  • Low-Strength Authentication
  • Medium-Strength Authentication
  • High-Strength Authentication

Authorization Approaches

  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
  • Authorization Via a Small Set of Well-Defined Groups or Roles
  • Fine-Grained Access Control for Specific Application Needs

Application Alternatives for Identity, Authentication, and Authorization Services

  • NOS
  • Direct Access to a Directory
  • Indirect Authentication and Using Web-Based Access Management Tools
  • Placement and Location of Services

Case Study: Building an “Application Taxonomy”

  • Step 1: Summarize the Existing Environment and Identify Key Initiatives That May Impact the Future Environment
  • Step 2: Identify Business Justification and Obtain Approvals
  • Step 3: Develop an Overall Identity and Access Management Architecture
  • Step 4: Developing a “New” Applications Taxonomy for Integrating Key Applications into the Proposed Solution
  • Step 5: Develop a Migration Strategy

Future Developments

  • DSML
  • Other XML-Based Initiatives


Appendix A—Matrices

  • Application Data (Background Info. for Sheet 1 of the Applications Matrix)
  • Application Security Taxonomy
  • KEY to Application Security Taxonomy
  • Identity Source Taxonomy for Applications
  • Authentication Method Taxonomy for Application
  • Authentication Source Taxonomy for Application
  • Authorization Method Taxonomy for Application
  • Authorization Source Taxonomy for Application
  • PKI Service Taxonomy for Application
  • PKI Services Source Taxonomy for Applications

©2021 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.