PlainID's Hot List of Top People in the IAM Industry

Gal Helemski
February 13, 2018

Identity Access Management and the associated discipline of Identity Governance & Administration (IAM and IGA) are industries that, although mature, need to remain highly innovative. Identity management, more than perhaps any other technology sector, has touch points across many other areas, including mobile computing, Cloud computing, compliance, data security, and even the Internet of Things. IAM and IGA have to be dynamic to stay present in an ever-changing enterprise environment.

This market is bringing onboard new innovations that cut across the areas of authentication, verification of users, user provisioning, authorization, web app security, infrastructure and implementation, and even UX/UI. Keeping on top of this wide-spectrum of technology and methodologies is something that identity professionals have to do to ensure that their organization is using the most appropriate and up-to-date approach to identifying and managing their user base. Keeping in touch with the changing market can be done by following the right identity folks. The identity industry has some amazing individuals working at the cutting-edge of the sector. They keep on top of the changing industry on your behalf. Below we have listed some of the top people in the industry upping the bar and encouraging innovation:

Brian Iverson

Brian Iverson is Director and Research Analyst at Gartner where he specializes in IAM. He has a long career in information security and has a deep understanding of infrastructure management. Mr. Iverson previously worked for KPMG where he dealt with IAM across multiple industry sectors and this experience is carried forward into his analyst work. Brian will be talking at the Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit in London this year.

Homan Farahmand

Homan Farahmand is a Research Director for Gartner specializing in IAM and blockchain. He has a blog with Gartner and offers practical advice in the areas of IAM, including this useful guide “How to Assess a Blockchain Platform? Mr. Farahmand has held many high profile positions in companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and GE Capital IT solutions. He recently published a report “Improving Runtime Authorization Maturity” which is a useful analysis of the type of functionality available using runtime authorization.

Martin Kuppinger

Martin is the founder and principal of the identity and security analyst firm KuppingerCole. Martin is extremely well respected in the identity industry and is a prolific author across IAM and security-related areas. Martin’s writing is accessible on a number of platforms. As well as his own blog on the KuppingerCole site, he also writes for TechTarget, where you can read posts such as “Why GDPR is so relevant to the business”. Martin will be giving a keynote speech at the upcoming “European Identity & Cloud Conference 2018” on “The Future Model of Identity: Blockchain ID and the Digital Transformation.”

Sarah K Squire

Sarah was one of the founders of ‘Engage Identity’ but recently took up the post of Senior Technical Architect at Ping Identity. Sarah is also one of the founders of the industry professional body, IDPro and a board member of that body. Sarah is a regular presenter at identity conferences and will be presenting a talk on “No You May Not Have a Pony”—The Art of the Possible in Secure IAM Design” at RSA in April this year. Previous presentations include the 2017 Cloud Identity Summit “Measuring Authentication: Vectors of Trust”. Sarah also co-authored the NIST Digital Identity Guidelines, SP 800-63.

Don Thibeau

Don is the chairman of the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) a technology-agnostic platform for the identity industry that looks carries out research into identity areas. Don has held many high profile positions throughout his career including VP of Strategy for LexisNexis. Don publishes regular blog posts to the OIX blog. Don will be presenting at the Know Identity 2018 conference on “A Holistic Assessment of Using Public Blockchains for Identity

Don recently tweeted: “Blockchains Will Change the Way the World Votes”

Eve Maler

Eve, a linguist by training, has had a prestigious career. Eve was one of the co-inventors of both the SAML and XML protocols and more recently is the brains behind the User-Managed Access (UMA) protocol which hopes to change the way privacy is managed across the Internet. Eve currently works as VP of Innovation and Emerging Technology at Forgerock but has also had high profile positions at Sun Microsystems, PayPal, and as a Forrester Analyst. Eve is a great speaker and does regular talks at identity conferences. Check out her presentation of UMA at the Kantara workshop at Consumer identity World 2017. And her talk on “Designing a New Consent Strategy for Digital Transformation” at RSA 2017.

Eve recently tweeted: “A8 (more). For everyone (hey, IT managers are people too :-) ): Think in terms of “least privilege”, “minimal disclosure”, and “changing default passwords” when teaching the family how to use that new #IoT door lock”

Sandy Porter

Sandy is the co-founder and Business Development Director of Avoco Secure who provide the tools behind two of the UK Government Verify IdP services. Sandy has a long and illustrious career working across information security and digital identity. He was a director of the Information Card Foundation, a steward of Identity Commons, and was heavily involved the UK Government Cabinet Office (DSG) workgroups. Sandy gives regular talks on innovations in digital identity such as blockchain, authorization technologies, and consumer identity verification, at events like KuppingerCole, where last year he spoke on “Customer Identity Management Trends 2017”. Sandy helped pull together a paper on “Achieving Frictionless Customer Onboarding“

Ian Glazer

Ian is currently VP of Identity Product Management at SalesForce but was previously a Vice President at Gartner. Ian is heavily involved in a number of industry bodies, being a co-founder and board member of IDPro. He is also the Editor of the Kantara working group on Identity Relationship management and has co-authored the WG publication “Refining The Design Principles of Identity Relationship Management”. Ian is an entertaining and informative speaker and presents at many events. Ian will be speaking at the Know Identity Conference later this year.

Check out Ian’s blog - he has a three-part series on de-weaponizing identity systems which is well worth a read.

Robin Wilton

Robin works as a Technical Outreach Worker for the Internet Society but was previously a Director at Gartner specializing in identity and privacy. He has a long history of involvement in digital identity and is a true thought leader in identity and privacy. Robin is also on the board of Kantara. Robin talked at RSA 2017 on “It's Time To Go Beyond Data Protection, And Protect The Individual”.

You can catch up on what Robin is thinking about the world of identity in his blog posts.

Steve Wilson

Steve was originally a physicist but quickly became involved in software development and specialized in cryptography and PKI. As well as running his own identity and security company, LockStep Group, Steve is an analyst for Constellation Research. Steve is an outspoken member of the identity community on new technologies such as blockchain. Check out this video talk with Steve on digital transformation.

Steve will be speaking at the 2018 Know Identity Conference on “A Holistic Assessment of Using Public Blockchains for Identity”.

Steve recently tweeted: “Blockchain digitizes then democratizes snake oil.”

Colin Wallis

Colin was instrumental in developing the New Zealand identity service, ‘RealMe’ when he worked for the New Zealand government. Colin is currently the Executive Director of the Kantara Initiative and works hard to promote the working groups in Kantara who are attempting to take identity into a new era. As Executive Director of Kantara, Colin regularly speaks at identity-related events across the globe. He will be giving a talk at the KuppingerCole identity conference in 2018 on “EIC 18 Elephant Round on Standards Trends & Developments”

Anil John

Anil, as well as offering digital security coaching services, is a program manager for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate. Prior to his current position, Anil was the Technical Lead at the Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management (FICAM). His long-standing experience means that Anil is a well-respected member of the identity community. Anil has his own blog which offers technical advice on digital identity, IAM architecture, and IGA. Anil gives talks at many security and identity conferences including BlackHat 2017 and the IoT blockchain summit.

Mary Ruddy

Mary is currently a Gartner analyst specializing in IAM, IGA, SSO, CIAM, and WAM but has been part of the digital identity community for many years. Mary was a founding member of OASIS and the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG). Some of Mary’s research includes the Gartner report on the planning and governance of an IAM system. Mary often speaks at Gartner Identity and Access management conferences.


The above list is certainly not exhaustive, but it is illustrious. There are many individuals within the identity space that are contributing to the evolution of the IAM and IGA space. The collective knowledge of these individuals is available by following them on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter or attending the many identity conferences they speak at.

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