IT Trends

U Washington To Test Drive Microsoft Federated ID Cloud Services

The University of Washington will be giving feedback to Microsoft on two identity federation options the company is planning to introduce as part of its cloud services. The initiative is intended to help institutions collaborate securely with external partners. The university will also be one of the first to roll out a federated identify solution with Microsoft on Live@edu.

During its United States Public Sector CIO Summit taking place this week in Redmond, Microsoft announced that it was extending its Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS 2.0) to the cloud and adding it into the mix of Live@edu. ADFSv2 is s security token service that provides a security mechanism for administrators in one organization to set up trust relationships with users in other organizations so that they can access internal resources or applications. Microsoft posted a release candidate for ADFS 2.0 on its Web site in December 2009. Live@edu is Microsoft's education offering that provides free student e-mail, online applications, and storage.

Institutions using Microsoft's Active Directory will be able to extend that platform to the cloud with ADFS 2.0 and enable access to Live@edu services.

The company said it will also offer SAML/Shibboleth federation support for customers that use other directory platforms, such as OpenLDAP. Shibboleth is a standards-based, open source program for Web single sign-on across or within an organization. Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), which comes out of the OASIS Security Services Technical Committee, is an XML framework that allows for the creation and exchange of security information between online partners.

U Washington will help provide service configuration feedback, implementation documentation, migration guidance, and service testing on both identity federation options.

"The University of Washington believes federation and interoperability are key elements to effective, seamless collaboration in complex environments," said Terry Gray, associate vice president of Technology Strategy. "We have a long-standing relationship with Microsoft, and we are excited to work together on the development of a wide range of technologies that will have an impact on how institutions collaborate worldwide."

During the summit, Microsoft also claimed 10,000 new schools as users for Live@edu, including Florida State College at Jacksonville and the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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