Participation in the InCommon Federation (“Federation”) enables a federation participating organization ("Participant") to use Shibboleth identity attribute sharing technologies to manage access to on-line resources that can be made available to the InCommon community. One goal of the Federation is to develop, over time, community standards for such cooperating organizations to ensure that shared attribute assertions are sufficiently robust and trustworthy to manage access to important protected resources. As the community of trust evolves, the Federation expects that participants eventually should be able to trust each other's identity management systems and resource access management systems as they trust their own.
A fundamental expectation of Participants is that they provide authoritative and accurate attribute assertions to other Participants, and that Participants receiving an attribute assertion protect it and respect privacy constraints placed on it by the Federation or the source of that information. In furtherance of this goal, InCommon requires that each Participant make available to other Participants certain basic information about any identity management system, including the identity attributes that are supported, or resource access management system registered for use within the Federation.
Two criteria for trustworthy attribute assertions by Identity Providers are: (1) that the identity management system fall under the purview of the organization’s executive or business management, and (2) the system for issuing end-user credentials (e.g., PKI certificates, userids/passwords, Kerberos principals, etc.) specifically have in place appropriate risk management measures (e.g., authentication and authorization standards, security practices, risk assessment, change management controls, audit trails, etc.).
InCommon expects that Service Providers, who receive attribute assertions from another Participant, respect the other Participant's policies, rules, and standards regarding the protection and use of that data. Furthermore, such information should be used only for the purposes for which it was provided. InCommon strongly discourages the sharing of that data with third parties, or aggregation of it for marketing purposes without the explicit permission of the identity information providing Participant.
InCommon requires Participants to make available to all other Participants answers to the questions below. Additional information to help answer each question is available in the next section of this document. There is also a glossary at the end of this document that defines terms shown in italics.
- Such permission already might be implied by existing contractual agreements.
- Your responses to these questions should be posted in a readily accessible place on your web site, and the URL submitted to InCommon. If not posted, you should post contact information for an office that can discuss it privately with other InCommon Participants as needed. If any of the information changes, you must update your on-line statement as soon as possible.
1. Federation Participant Information
1.1 The InCommon Participant Operational Practices information below is for:
1.2 Identity Management and/or Privacy information
The following person or office can answer questions about the Participant’s identity management system or resource access management policy or practice.
2. Identity Provider Information
The most critical responsibility that an IdentityProvider Participant has to the Federation is to provide trustworthy and accurate identity assertions. It is important for a Service Provider to know how your electronic identity credentials are issued and how reliable the information associated with a given credential (or person) is.
2.1 If you are an Identity Provider, how do you define the set of people who are eligible to receive an electronic identity? If exceptions to this definition are allowed, who must approve such an exception?
SU issues NetID’s to active students, faculty and staff at SU. Applicants for admission at SU are also provided a NetID. NetID’s may be requested by SU alumni whose academic tenure predates electronic directories. NetID’s are also provided to individuals who do work to further the mission of the University under sponsorship by a faculty, staff or student. These individuals are referred to as “sponsored associates” in this document.
2.2 “Member of Community” is an assertion that might be offered to enable access to resources made available to individuals who participate in the primary mission of the university or organization. For example, this assertion might apply to anyone whose affiliation is “current student, faculty, or staff.”
What subset of persons registered in your identity management system would you identify as a “Member of Community” in Shibboleth identity assertions to other InCommon Participants?
Active students, faculty and staff, and sponsored associates. Once these individuals become inactive, e.g. graduated, withdrawn, retired, etc., they are no longer considered members.
Electronic Identity Credentials
2.3 Please describe in general terms the administrative process used to establish an electronic identity that results in a record for that person being created in your electronic identity database. Please identify the office(s) of record for this purpose. For example, “Registrar’s Office for students; HR for faculty and staff.”
NetID’s are created automatically by central IT based on criteria established in collaboration with HR (for faculty and staff), Registrar (for students), and Admissions (for applicants). Faculty and Staff present a government-issued proof of identity as part of the hiring process (I-9) after the NetID is established. Applicants and students do not provide proof of identity. Sponsored associates are created by designated IT staff in each of the academic and administrative units.
2.4 What technologies are used for your electronic identity credentials (e.g., Kerberos, userID/password, PKI, ...) that are relevant to Federation activities? If more than one type of electronic credential is issued, how is it determined who receives which type? If multiple credentials are linked, how is this managed (e.g., anyone with a Kerberos credential also can acquire a PKI credential) and recorded?
The Netid and password are created by a central provisioning system which provisions these credentials into various target resources, depending on the user’s needs. Both an Enterprise Directory and Active Directory use these credentials to support centralized desktop and web application login. These directories also form the identity store to be used for any federations.
2.5 If your electronic identity credentials require the use of a secret password or PIN, and there are circumstances in which that secret would be transmitted across a network without being protected by encryption (i.e., “clear text passwords” are used when accessing campus services), please identify who in your organization can discuss with any other Participant concerns that this might raise for them:
We take great care to ensure that all applications pass credentials securely. Any member of the Identity Management group would address such concerns via firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.6 If you support a “single sign-on” (SSO) or similar campus-wide system to allow a single user authentication action to serve multiple applications, and you will make use of this to authenticate people for InCommon Service Providers, please describe the key security aspects of your SSO system including whether session timeouts are enforced by the system, whether user-initiated session termination is supported, and how use with “public access sites” is protected.
Desktops and wireless devices for faculty, staff and sponsored associates are controlled by a centrally administered screen lock after an idle time of 15 minutes. For students, faculty and staff, Active Directory sessions serve other campus applications, each having their own session timeouts which are generally no more than 60 minutes. We also provide SSO by virtue of the Shibboleth IdP sign-on process. The standard IdP timeout mechanisms are enforced. User-initiated session termination only exists by closing out the browser at this time. We have not yet deployed this service to pubic or other higher-risk locations yet and will be formulating a plan for protecting those. Finally, there are continuous efforts to education the SU community about safe browsing practices.
2.7 Are your primary electronic identifiers for people, such as “net ID,” eduPersonPrincipalName, or eduPersonTargetedID considered to be unique for all time to the individual to whom they are assigned? If not, what is your policy for re-assignment and is there a hiatus between such reuse?
Identifiers are unique for all time for all users, with the exception of applications for admission that do not come to SU and have/had no other affiliations. Applicants are not members, and there are tens of thousands each year. For these reasons, we recycle the electronic identifiers for this population. There is no hiatus. EduPersonPrincipalName is based on the Netid, and follows the same permanence as just described. eduPersonTargetedID is truly permanent (never reused).
Electronic Identity Database
2.8 How is information in your electronic identity database acquired and updated? Are specific offices designated by your administration to perform this function? Are individuals allowed to update their own information on-line?
Except for addresses and phones, all information is updated by custodial offices (e.g. HR for employees, Registrar for students, etc.) using standard business processes. Individuals use the University’s portal, called MySlice, to update their own addresses and phones.
2.9 What information in this database is considered “public information” and would be provided to any interested party?
For students, it includes information defined by the University as “Directory Information.” (with any FERPA restrictions applied). For more information, visit http://syr.edu/registrar/students/ferpa.html. For employees, it includes name, department, job title, @syr.edu email address and office phone.
Uses of Your Electronic Identity Credential System
2.10 Please identify typical classes of applications for which your electronic identity credentials are used within your own organization.
Enterprise-class systems that support business operations in Admissions, Registrar, HR, General Accounting, etc., wireless network access, email, and electronic library resources.
Attributes are the information data elements in an attribute assertion you might make to another Federation participant concerning the identity of a person in your identity management system.
2.11 Would you consider your attribute assertions to be reliable enough to:
[ Yes ] control access to on-line information databases licensed to your organization?
[ Yes ] be used to purchase goods or services for your organization?
[ Yes ] enable access to personal information such as student loan status?
Federation Participants must respect the legal and organizational privacy constraints on attribute information provided by other Participants and use it only for its intended purposes.
2.12 What restrictions do you place on the use of attribute information that you might provide to other Federation participants?
For information about SU’s Information Technology Resources Acceptable Use Policy, see http://supolicies.syr.edu/free_speech/IT_resource_acceptable_use.htm.
2.13 What policies govern the use of attribute information that you might release to other Federation participants? For example, is some information subject to FERPA or HIPAA restrictions?
HIPAA, no. FERPA, yes. If the student/former student has requested any nondisclosure, the affected attributes will be suppressed. No HIPAA data are allowed to be kept in the identity stores and therefore are not available for release.
3. Service Provider Information
Service Providers are trusted to ask for only the information necessary to make an appropriate access control decision, and to not misuse information provided to them by Identity Providers. Service Providers must describe the basis on which access to resources is managed and their practices with respect to attribute information they receive from other Participants.
3.1 What attribute information about an individual do you require in order to manage access to resources you make available to other Participants? Describe separately for each service ProviderID that you have registered.
SU is currently not a Service Provider.
3.2 What use do you make of attribute information that you receive in addition to basic access control decisions? For example, do you aggregate session access records or records of specific information accessed based on attribute information, or make attribute information available to partner organizations, etc.? n/a
3.3 What human and technical controls are in place on access to and use of attribute information that might refer to only one specific person (i.e., personally identifiable information)? For example, is this information encrypted? n/a
3.4 Describe the human and technical controls that are in place on the management of super-user and other privileged accounts that might have the authority to grant access to personally identifiable information? n/a
3.5 If personally identifiable information is compromised, what actions do you take to notify potentially affected individuals? n/a
4. Other Information
4.1 Technical Standards, Versions and Interoperability
Identify the version of Internet2 Shibboleth code release that you are using or, if not using the standard Shibboleth code, what version(s) of the SAML and SOAP and any other relevant standards you have implemented for this purpose.
4.2 Other Considerations
Are there any other considerations or information that you wish to make known to other Federation participants with whom you might interoperate? For example, are there concerns about the use of clear text passwords or responsibilities in case of a security breach involving identity information you may have provided?
In the case of a local identity breach, the central Identity Management team will work with the campus IT Security group to notify those impacted. If outside organizations need to report a breach to us, use the email@example.com address and our Identity Management team will handle the local coordination.
 A general note regarding attributes and recommendations within the Federation is available here: http://www.incommonfederation.org/attributes.html
 "Member" is one possible value for eduPersonAffiliation as defined in the eduPerson schema. It is intended to include faculty, staff, student, and other persons with a basic set of privileges that go with membership in the university community (e.g., library privileges). “Member of Community” could be derived from other values in eduPersonAffiliation or assigned explicitly as “Member” in the electronic identity database. See http://www.educause.edu/eduperson/