The Incoming of ‘Federated Identity Management’

Boeing joined Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program, or the TSCP, to collaborate trusted partners when working on the Future Combat Systems program for the US Army. TSCP is about managing identity and enforcing IT security across corporations and national boundaries, in industries where identity management is critical, such as defense industry. This is a great example of  ‘Federated Identity Management’.

Boeing was a relatively latecomer to TSCP, a partnership of the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies. Other members include Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, as well as the U.S., British, and Dutch governments. TSCP’s initial driver was the British Ministry of Defense’s need for secure e-mail communications among diverse parties using different technologies. Then, it evolved to create common guidelines and trusted community where companies can secure their user data access across corporations.

CertiPath has helped translate the TSCP trust fabric into a public-key infrastructure bridge which, in May 2006, became the first ever private-industry PKI bridge allowed to peer with the Federal Bridge Certification Authority, which assures identity across large swaths of the U.S. government.

However, building this trusted community is not easy.  TSCP has to pass Sarbanes-Oxley, State Department International Traffic in Arms Regulations rules, export controls, European personal data security issues, intellectual property protection, and other factors.

Other industries have taken on similar challenges to smooth collaboration. Among the most notable include the pharmaceutical industry’s SAFE-BioPharma Association, a coalition of pharmaceutical companies responsible for establishing a common digital identity and signature standard; and the Higher Education Bridge Certification Authority, which hopes to do the same for colleges and universities.

As companies collaborate with each other in a connected network, this will soon become a trend in identity management to manage the access control of external parnters, customers and suppliers.

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