Facebook could become an enterprise ID system

Gartner analyst Earl Perkins noted that identities on the Web may be managed by Facebook even in enterprise IT.

In many enterprise technology corners, Facebook is seen as a security threat, but it may be time for a rethink. After all, Facebook could become your identity management system.

A trio of Gartner analysts talked about security threats for 2013 and the usual suspects were presented: Mobile and targeted attacks are on the radar. However, there was a more notable eyebrow raiser: Identity management providers in the cloud will be halved or acquired by 2015.

What if Facebook became your identity management provider?

Sounds like heresy to some degree, but Gartner analyst Earl Perkins noted that identities on the Web may be managed by Facebook. In retail, Facebook may be the ID gatekeeper. Perkins said that there's a socialization of identities and by the end of 2015, 30 percent of all new retail customer IDs will be based on social media. "There are elements in the social media infrastructure that can be leveraged to bring into the enterprise and do more with to conduct business," said Perkins.

In other words, the login with Facebook ID button will go corporate. Perkins cautioned that there will be serious obstacles to making social media IDs enterprise ready, but it's quite possible.

The arguments for Facebook as a retail enterprise ID system go like this:

  • For many users, social networks are the Internet.
  • Using a Facebook login would lower customer friction.
  • Social identities mean fewer abandoned registrations.
  • Lower costs.

However, there are arguments against using Facebook as an ID gatekeeper. The argument against Facebook as an ID system goes like this:

  • ID fraud is rampant. 
  • User authentication is weak. 
  • Customization will slow adoption. 
  • And there are liability concerns.

Despite those issues, the reality is that identities are going social. It remains to be seen if social equates to industrial strength.