Subject: News for and about the Internet2 community
- From: Lauren Rotman <>
- Subject: InCommon Reaches Major Expansion Milestone
- Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2008 08:53:31 -0400
InCommon Reaches Major Expansion Milestone
Over 100 Institutions and Two Million Users Participate in First U.S. Higher Education Identity Management Federation
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - October 8, 2008 – InCommon(R), the first nationwide identity and access management federation for higher education, today announced that its community now includes 107 institutional participants and over two million end users.
This major milestone highlights the rapid adoption of federation trust principals and technologies that improve security and provide a better individual experience. Through a federation, organizations can provide access to online resources, but individuals only need one "home" account. Because federation members agree to certain policies and standards-based technologies, this arrangement also preserves a user’s privacy.
“As the educational environment has evolved with the advent of networked resources and distance learning technologies, our community increasingly relies upon complex resource partnerships to achieve its missions,” said Clair Goldsmith, Special Assistant for Information Technology of the University of Texas System, and chair of the governing InCommon steering committee. “The research and education community is thrilled with the growth of InCommon and federated identity as it allows our campuses both large and small to have greater control over our users’ personal information while at the same time providing us a more scalable and secure means to share online materials and critical applications.”
Today, InCommon provides users at universities and colleges across the country with access to a wide variety of online resources from major service providers. These services include course management systems, library database services, multimedia content, and career center systems and tools. Users can also access student discount services and computer software downloads from major corporations.
An identity federation is an association of organizations that uses a common set of practices and policies to exchange information about their users and online resources. College students, faculty and staff, for example, can use their university user IDs to gain access to resources from any federation resource provider. This greatly simplifies transactions among federation members and makes it easy to establish working agreements.
"Exponential growth in mobile computing, social networking, and scholarly collaboration, both in learning and amongst research teams, has created new challenges for universities to develop secure and scalable environments that can effectively allow these collaborations to happen,” said Lois Brooks, Stanford University’s director of academic computing and vice-chair of the InCommon Federation steering committee. ”InCommon addresses these challenges by equipping universities with the necessary infrastructure to interconnect these services and resources in ways that encourage the free flow of scholarship.”
In addition, resource providers no longer need to maintain individual user accounts, since they can provide protected content to multiple campuses and universities using InCommon’s single sign-on system.
“Microsoft’s participation in the InCommon Federation provides us with a more seamless and scalable pathway to collaborating with our important university partners,” said Jim Pinkelman, director of U.S. Academic Relations for Microsoft. “We look forward to working with the Federation to engage members of the university community in a new way by extending a more user- and privacy-friendly environment that can provide access to a wider array of Microsoft’s online resources.”
There will be a track sessions about InCommon and its growing community at the Internet2 Fall Member Meeting held in New Orleans, LA - October 13-16, 2008. For more information on the InCommon session, visit:
For more information on InCommon and a full list of participants, visit: http://www.incommon.org
The InCommon Federation provides higher education institutions and their sponsored resource partners with unparalleled privacy, security, and scalability for accessing protected online resources. InCommon is based on the concept of federated administration enabling participants to become part of an association of organizations that agree on a set of attributes and policies to exchange information about their users for access to restricted resources. As a limited liability company, InCommon is operated by Internet2 and managed by an independent Steering Committee representing the higher education and research community. For more information, visit http://www.incommon.org
- InCommon Reaches Major Expansion Milestone, Lauren Rotman, 10/08/2008
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