Tobias Urban & Grace Shaffi – Delve by Distology Episode E04

Podcasts | Posted: 09-09-2022
Row curve

The Mechanics Behind the Magic of Online Experiences: Security, Access, Personalised Experiences and More


Today we’re delving into the magic behind the log in. Logins, webpages and apps are a bit like glass in window frames, you know you need them, but you barely see them unless they’re dirty – and we all know what a dirty login looks like because it’s painful. Yet take any app or online service you use, Netflix, Virgin Media, your stock portfolio – all you do is log in, right? But what on Earth happens after that? How does your server know what you’re allowed to access and do once you’re in? How have our consumer experiences become so slick? That is what our two guests today are going to help us understand.

CIAM Specialists Lead at Okta

Tobias Urban, CIAM Specialist Lead, Okta

Our first guest is Tobias Urban, CIAM Specialists Lead at Okta. Born, raised and resident in Germany, Tobias discovered the fun of tech at University in Munich during his Information Management degree. Tobias bounced out of education into a tech evangelist role at Microsoft before the lack of depth bored him, and he transferred into a Cloud Solutions Architect role. It’s during this role that he was consistently tripped up managing user identities in a cloud migration project. Microsoft moved Tobias into a third focus as a Programme Manager with Microsoft 365, before he eventually left to join Auth0 where he ran partner enablement. Through Auth0’s acquisition by Okta, Tobias is now leading a team of Okta consumer identity & management specialists. Tobias is an avid video gamer and owns every console and gaming PC!

Solutions Architect AWS

Grace Shaffi, Solutions Architect, AWS

Guest number two is Grace Shaffi, former Senior Solutions Engineer and multi-cloud security SME at Distology, now Solutions Architect at AWS. Growing up in Hackney and Essex, Grace found a passion for maths and social sciences at school. She had a dream of becoming a social worker, so took a Child & Family Studies degree. After university, Grace went into social care and worked for a housing association. During this time she was asked to teach others IT. She quickly found she was interested in how the IT systems worked rather than their functional use, so trained to be an IT teacher. The curriculum only held her interest for a couple of years. Grace moved from teaching to instruction on AWS’s Re: Start programme and from there to Distology, and now AWS. In her spare time, Grace loves Olympic weightlifting, hitting the movies several times a week and being interrupted on calls by one of her three cats, Loki.

Welcome to this episode of Delve!

Discussion Points

  • Introduction [00:00-03:45]
  • What is consumer identity and access management (CIAM) and how it creates the magic behind the login? [03:51-05:30]
  • Is CIAM real magic or is it an illusion and a series of cleverly engineered things to be as invisible as possible to the user? [05:32-06:35]
  • Can anyone develop a CIAM platform themselves? What are the challenges?  [06:36-11:24]
  • What else can we get out of a CIAM platform in terms of customer experience and business intelligence? [11:25-14:07]
  • What else can we get out of a CIAM platform in terms of security? [14:08-17:32]
  • What do you say to those sitting on the fence between home-grown and purpose-built platforms like Okta? [17:33-26:27]
  • The benefit of CIAM for detection and response [26:28-29:44]
  • What do the acronyms MFA, API and DDoS mean? [29:45-32:57]
  • Which technology topic will you be delving into in 2022 and why? [32:58-35:46]


About Delve

Delve is a technology podcast, where the host, Lance Williams, is joined by guests to tackle technology topics that need exploring, unpacking and in some cases, de-mystifying in our brave and boundary-less IT world. Subscribe and tune in each month, as Lance interviews special guests from the cybersecurity world and beyond. Available on all podcast platforms.

Listen Now