Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.

Archive for November, 2005

PingSTS Announced – Identity for Web Services

November 30, 2005 By: Andre Category: Ping Identity

Ping today announced that PingSTS (Preview 1) is now available as part of our early adopter program. It’s Ping’s second major product, and the brain-child of our new VP of Technology, Patrick Harding, who had a need for it at Fidelity before joining Ping. Darren Platt, former head of engineering of Securant before they were purchased by RSA Security has been leading our efforts here, and doing a wonderful job. PingSTS is a Security Token Server which effectively allows companies to centralize, much like a certificate authority, where they get SAML assertions for use in their web services and SOA initiatives. The below graphic shows how we connect the introduction of this new product, which enables app-to-app identity to our existing product, which enables user-to-browser identity.

PingSTS is an advanced WS-Trust Security Token Server. It builds upon WSS 1.0 and WS-Trust to supply a Security Token Service (STS) for identity-enabling web services. Using PingSTS, a Web Services client will be able to exchange the security token being used in the local security domain, such as a Kerberos ticket, for a SAML security token that represents the original user’s identity in other federated security domains, including those at other companies. PingSTS also allows Web Services providers to validate SAML security tokens before performing requested services.

Digital ID World 2006 – San Francisco

November 30, 2005 By: Andre Category: Life

Looks like Phil and Eric got up next year’s Digital ID World 2006 website. Not sure I quite yet understand the decentralization theme. I’ll need to speak with Phil about that one. Boy has the identity management industry come a long ways in the past 36 months.

Suite or Anti-Suite. That is the question…

November 30, 2005 By: Andre Category: Life

Ping got a nice quote in John Fontana’s Network World article today on HP’s acquisition of Trustgenix.

“While the rest of the industry consolidates their functionality, Ping looks to provide modular, lightweight solutions built entirely on open standards,” says Andre Durand, CEO of Ping Identity. “Our customers have told us that they want loosely coupled, lightweight and standards-based solutions.  One of our larger customers actually referred to this as the ‘anti-suite’ approach.”

Durand says there seems to be two diametrically opposed forces at work within the identity management industry. “First, large security and identity management vendors are shoring up their product suites, looking to become sole-source providers of tightly integrated authentication, authorization, provisioning and federation functionality. Simultaneously, customer requirements for cross-vendor, cross-company interoperability are driving new standards into each of these capabilities. The need for interoperability of authentication is what drove the need for federation ahead of the other elements within the identity management stack.”

Yea, I know… pretty self-serving. but hey, I actually believe it, and only time will prove me wrong!   

And then there was one

November 30, 2005 By: Andre Category: Life

HP today announced their acquisition of TrustGenix, our only real startup competition in the federated identity space. When we started Ping in 2002, little did we know how few start-up competitors we would end up having to compete with. I believe this was a result of the post difficulty in raising money. Unlike the 1st wave of startups in the identity management space (in which there were some 20 or so VC funded companies) such as Waveset, Acess360, Business Layers, Thor and Courion amongst others, there were very few VC funded startups in the 2nd wave of the Identity Management era.

As it stands, we’re one of only a few VC funded companies of any size in the IdM space, and the only stand-alone company in the federated identity management space. I’m not sure if I should be scared, or happy. In any event, I wish my former competitors well in their new home within HP.

The End of America as we know it?

November 29, 2005 By: Andre Category: Life

I read a very disheartening blog this morning titled Goodbye to America by Hossein Derakhshan in which he shares a recent run-in with our border patrol wherein he was denied re-entry into the for six months. I don’t know Hossein, but the story reminds me of an article I read several months back.

To explain, I need to take you back a year to a Harvard Business Review article in which a professor hypothesized about the long-term impact of effectively closing our borders. In the paper he explained how the cultural diversity of America provided a foundation for innovation not found elsewhere. How different viewpoints allow us (America) to tackle problems and challenges in unique ways, often times leading to the very innovation which makes our companies and indeed our country so great. 

I believe we (America) owe a tremendous amount of our good fortune to the cultural diversity which we’ve fostered since our inception. The best and the brightest from around the world have strived to make America their destination, and that influx of intelligence, work ethic and determination, combined with the cultural diversity carried along with it, has made American businesses what they are, world-class companies.

Unfortunately, I believe we’re fundamentally stuck between a rock and a hard place in this situation. I understand the urgency and imperative to keep the bad guys out, but in the process, we’ve created friction at our borders which will undoubtedly have secondary long term effects.

Most notably, I believe what is happening at our borders is going to reduce the amount of highly motivated intelligence which has for decades made the land of opportunity their destination, and simultaneously reduce the cultural diversity which in many ways is the very essence which defines us. It’s sad to see this happening in real-time, and to feel so helpless in proposing a solution.

PingFederate with SAML 2.0 – Ready for Download

November 22, 2005 By: Andre Category: Ping Identity

PingFederate v3.0, now with SAML 2.0 support for federated single sign-on, logout and attribute exchange is now available for immediate download from

Gravity of Information Flows to End-Points

November 22, 2005 By: Andre Category: Life

I was musing the other day about how the only rate-limiter to the amount of information and content I’d choose to carry on my PDA was limited only by:

  • a) the amount of storage the device had and

  • b) the time it took to get it there (i.e. the bandwidth to the device).

If I had a pedabyte of storage and a back-bone sized connection to the internet, I might very well copy down a good portion of the web along with every song and or movie I could get ahold of (assuming of course I didn’t violate any copyright laws).

It appears that information and content somehow wants to flow to the end-points, and does, but is only limited by storage and bandwidth. Gravity it would appear, when it comes to information and data, flows to the end-points.

Advice to Entrepreneurs – Bootstrap

November 22, 2005 By: Andre Category: Life

I was asked to lunch today by a budding entrepreneur who wanted some advice on an idea he had and how to go about raising money. Having been involved in over $30m in fund-raising over three ventures in 12 years, I sometimes attract these questions. 

I found myself giving some very different advice than normal. Rather than describe the options and various sources of funding, I found myself telling him to find a business he could bootstrap. The reasons are many fold, but I would attribute the bulk of the issues having to do with the state of valuations in a post bubble era combined with the fact that I believe in some ways, it teaches young entrepreneurs to focus on the wrong thing too early, especially if the money comes too easy.  When you take funding from others, you really have to do two things, 1) raise the money (which is not easy) and 2). figure out how to make money from customers. All the while, you now have a much larger and more complex ecosystem of personalities and expectations to manage. When you bootstrap, you keep your eye on the cash meter. You need more cash coming in than going out to grow. It’s a much simpler equation and if you learn to master it, you’re golden.

In the end, it boils down to figuring out what you’re really after. If you’re in it for the money, you likely have a higher probability of building personal wealth by focusing on the skills required to generate revenue from customers and maintaining a large portion of the equity you create than by taking a more traditional external financing route. If you’re in it for the experience or recognition or your prone to the ‘big idea’ that needs a lot of funding, then there’s a lot to be said for being part of a VC funded company. 

Mapping Fraudulent Identities

November 22, 2005 By: Andre Category: Life

While I love my car, it’s big, and a gas hog, and it’s time for me to do my part to reduce our consumption of natural resources. I put it up for sale a few weeks back. I’ve had two bites, both of them, from money-check fraudsters. My wife was approached with the same scam while trying to sell some chairs on Craig’s List. My listing was in Auto-Trader. The scam basically goes like this.

1. I’d like to buy your car, but I’ve already bought a car. I will instruct this 3rd party (some auto-dealer you never heard of) to send you a money order direct, but note its for more than than your car. When you receive the money-order, just send me the difference of what I owe you and your car. 

2. Of course the money order is fake, and while you send the difference to the fraudster, you’ll get stuck with paying it all back to the bank when it is determined that it’s fake.

Here’s a cut-and-paste of the most recent fraudulent email. I sure wish there was a way to track these guys.


Thanks for your response to my enquiry,to be honest,after going through with the informations you provided,i think I can go with the price,I also wish to complete the payment soon so i can assume the new owner of the car.

Actually I bought a car from a seller in Atlanta GA at the price of $XX,400 and i sent payment to him,on getting to the pick up,my shiper agent discovered that the car has had accident on the front door (driver’s side) and the seller did not inform me of this so i had to cancel the transaction.I hope this car has never had any accident before?


I have informed him that I have seen another car with a lesser price and have instructed him that he will be sending the funds to you and he have accepted,though he told me that his credit union only allow a refund payment on a cashier’s check so he will be sending the whole funds to you,again he said that he will deduct $300 from the total funds as the listening expences since he will place the car back to the Ad.


Since your’s is cheaper $XX,000 with more options,and less milage, i will use the difference $9,400 on the payment to offset shipping charges and other expences. Please email me the following infor so that he can send you the funds,i will advice my shiper agent to contact for the pickup as soon as you receive the payment.


(1) Payment Name (2) Direct contact phone number (3) Mailing Address for delivery of  the payment.
Please note that,you will western union the difference to my agent as soon as you receive the payment so that he can use it to handle the shipment.


Thanks as I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Victor Brown

Rate of Collapse of Distance Between End-Points – Continued

November 17, 2005 By: Andre Category: Life

A few days ago I mused about the concept that the distance between any two end-points is collapsing (i.e. the world is indeed flattening).

Example: 5 years ago, it might have taken 10-20 ‘hops’ to send a message from my cell phone to my computer (consider each an ‘end-point’), even though my phone could have been physically 1 foot from my computer. Today, with bluetooth, they can have a direct peer-to-peer conversation.

So, as it turns out, my father is a mathematician, and is currently visiting Kim and I here in Denver. When I proposed the concept and said that it would be interesting to know at what rate the collapse of distance between end-points was occuring, he developed the following formula, using Kevin Bacon’s 6 Degrees as an example. Because he uses special characters, I could not easily re-create the conjecture using HTML, so I just took a screen shot of his work instead.