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Fischer Offers Free Shibboleth Hosting to Higher Ed Organizations

Fischer International Identity is offering free access to its cloud-based Shibboleth Identity Provider system for qualified higher education institutions. The announcement was made at the Educause 2012 conference taking place this week in Denver, CO.

The company, which provides identity management solutions, reported it will provide two years of Shibboleth IdP hosting and management with support for up to 5,000 users free of charge. Shibboleth is a federated identity system that offers a solution for single sign-on between disparate enterprise systems. It comprises a number of free and open source software components, such as centralized and embedded discovery, identity provider tools, and metadata aggregation, and incorporates open standards for secure, cross-institution communications. Support for federated identity is a requirement for institutions to participate in InCommon. According to Fischer, by using its hosted system, institutions can meet the InCommon technical requirements without any up-front costs. (Institutions that qualify for InCommon membership include accredited two- and four-year degree granting institutions, research organizations, and sponsored partners of higher education institutions.)

"This service will allow additional institutions to quickly and cost-effectively deploy InCommon," said Jack Suess, InCommon steering committee chair and CIO and vice president of IT at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in a statement released by Fischer. "Fischer's program will allow institutions to share in the same benefits as the current 317 higher education InCommon participants--leveraging InCommon to easily integrate some of the 125 InCommon commercial service providers and 28 Internet NET+ Services in place today."

"Fischer is dedicated to the advancement of education, and we have been impressed with what InCommon, Internet2 NET+ Services, and OARnet are doing to advance education," said Andrew Sroka, president and CEO of Fischer, also in a prepared statement. "We are pleased to help additional institutions join InCommon, begin to leverage the cloud offerings available through InCommon and NET+ Services, and will develop a model to obtain affordable and high-value identity services through regional providers like OARnet."

Fischer International Identity is exhibiting at the Educause conference in Denver this week in booth 306. Additional details can be found at ignite-federation.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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