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December 01, 2006

UK Access Management Federation

The JISC yesterday announced the launch of the UK Access Management Federation.  I, and others at Eduserv, wish them well in this venture and look forward to working with them, UKERNA and others within this new framework to help realise the benefits that it should bring to the community.

But I wish the JISC would stop talking on Eduserv's behalf in their announcements about the Federation. By moving to a SAML-based federated access management landscape, the JISC has essentially opened up the marketplace - enabling institutions to develop their own solutions but also allowing third parties to sell their outsourced solutions where that is appropriate. This has got to be a good thing for the community overall.

Eduserv welcome that marketplace and we have already announced our intention to offer an outsourced identity provision service of our own. This will allow institutions to continue to take advantage of the benefits of a managed access management solution, as they have done for many years.  But this service, while incorporating existing Athens features, will also provide new functionality – so the option we offer is not simply as the JISC suggests 'to continue with Athens' but rather to have the benefits both of the current Athens functionality and of participation in the UK Access Management Federation (and indeed other potential federations) by using Eduserv as an outsourced identity provider.


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