Subject: News for and about the Internet2 community
University of Texas Campuses, Health Centers Join InCommon
- From: Lauren Rotman <>
- Subject: University of Texas Campuses, Health Centers Join InCommon
- Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2009 12:48:49 -0500
University of Texas Campuses, Health Centers Join InCommon
ANN ARBOR, Mich - November 24, 2009 - Citing the opportunities for increased security, collaboration and single sign-on convenience, The University of Texas System has announced that its nine campuses, six medical centers and system office are all joining the InCommon Federation. The InCommon Federation provides the U.S. higher education and research community with the common framework for trustworthy access to on-line resources. InCommon provides improved security and privacy, as well as single sign-on convenience, and eliminates the need for researchers, students and educators to maintain multiple passwords and usernames.
This federated identity approach allows educational institutions and their partners to use already assigned college and university IDs for access to online resources. This improves privacy and security for the individuals and the institutions, and allows researchers, faculty and students to focus on their work rather than managing multiple user names and worrying about privacy. With the addition of the UT campuses and medical centers, InCommon now serves almost 4 million individuals at 181 participating institutions throughout the nation.
“The University of Texas System saw the opportunity to address more than one problem with InCommon and its technology,” said Clair Goldsmith, the system’s senior advisor for information technology. “First, UT has six health institutions involved in research,” he said. “These institutions need access to National Institutes of Health applications and to collaborate with institutions both within and without the UT System. Our medical centers, for example, use several applications that are available under the NIH Clinical Translational Science Awards and the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid. These applications are, by definition, collaborations involving multiple institutions. InCommon is the pathway to these.”
Goldsmith also cited single sign-on convenience across all UT institutions for all UT applications. He said that the use of InCommon and the underlying Shibboleth open-source software improves security: “The use of SAML and Shibboleth to access applications increases security by eliminating potential external attacks.”
SAML is the Security Assertion Markup Language developed as an open- source solution for collaboration. It forms the basis for the standards-based Shibboleth single sign-on and federating software that is used by institutions around the world. In using federated identity, participating identity providers (such as colleges and universities) and resource providers (such as the NIH) agree on a set of shared policies, trust-establishing processes and technology standards. This greatly streamlines collaboration among multiple organizations because federation members agree on these policies and processes once, rather than each time they sign a contract with a new partner.
“The University of Texas System sees InCommon as an essential strategic resource,” Goldsmith said. “It will enable students, faculty and staff to access, share and build collaborations across disciplines, institutions and geography.”
As an example, he said, “InCommon membership will extend resources, such as the national laboratories, to researchers at some UT institutions that are quite small and very remote, such as UT Brownsville. Many of these institutions, nevertheless, have researchers who qualify for and need access to these laboratories. In addition, InCommon membership will help graduate students locate specific resourses, such as tissue samples, from a much larger number of tissue banks than are otherwise available.”
According to Stanford University’s Lois Brooks, chair of the InCommon Steering Committee, “One of the primary goals of federations like InCommon is to allow universities like the University of Texas to provide access to a wide range of on-campus and off-campus resources while still protecting the security and privacy of their students, faculty and staff. We welcome all of the campuses of the University of Texas, and the system office, to InCommon. Members from UT have already made valuable contributions to the federation and we look forward to an even closer relationship.”
About the InCommon Federation
The InCommon Federation provides the U.S. higher education and research community with the common framework for trustworthy shared management of access to on-line resources and serves almost 4 million individuals at 181 participating organizations. InCommon facilitates the development of a community-based common trust fabric sufficient to enable participants to make appropriate decisions about the release of identity information and the control of access to protected online resources. InCommon is intended to enable production-level end-user access to a wide variety of protected resources. For more information, visit www.incommon.org.
About The University of Texas System
The mission of The University of Texas System is to provide high- quality educational opportunities for the enhancement of the human resources of Texas, the nation and the world through intellectual and personal growth. Established by the Texas Constitution in 1876, The University of Texas System consists of nine academic universities and six health institutions.
The System administration is based in Austin, Texas. Offices are also located in Midland, Texas, and Washington, D.C. These offices are responsible for the central management and coordination of the academic and health institutions.
The new InCommon Participants:
University of Texas at Arlington
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Brownsville
University of Texas at Dallas
University of Texas at El Paso
University of Texas at San Antonio
University of Texas at Tyler
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
University of Texas of the Permian Basin
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
University of Texas System
University of Texas-Pan American
- University of Texas Campuses, Health Centers Join InCommon, Lauren Rotman, 11/24/2009
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