Final E-Authentication architecture approved

The General Services Administration yesterday released the final piece to the E-Authentication puzzle.

The Quicksilver project's executive board approved the final architecture for a federated portal. This final guideline ties together the administration policy on authentication levels and National Institute of Standards and Technology technical guidance.

The final architecture addresses authenticating end users to applications through a portal, the agency transaction or the credential service provider. The portal will use Security Assertion Markup Language scheme to verify the identity of remote users accessing government systems.

GSA also released the adopted scheme for the SAML architect profile and the interface specifications for the SAML profile.

In December, the project team developed an interim architecture plan outlining how the new approach will work. E-Authentication will use credentials from multiple domains and apply common certifications, guidelines, standards and policies (Click for Jan. 12 GCN coverage).

The architecture is based on open standards, using industry accepted protocols, which accommodate personal identification number and password and public-key infrastructure digital certificate authentications.

The project team, working with the Office of Management and Budget's Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office, also decided to incorporate e-authentication into the FEA in the Service Component Reference Model.

E-authentication would join other support services, such as search, security management, systems management and communication, in the bottom layer of the model.

About the Authors

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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