Newswise — OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, Cirrus Identity announced a collaboration to improve single sign-on (SSO) for higher education institutions that utilize Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). The Cirrus Identity Bridge will make it easier for higher education institutions to meet new National Institutes for Health authentication requirements by the September 15, 2021 deadline.

The Cirrus Identity Bridge makes it easy for higher ed institutions that use Azure AD to meet new NIH login requirements

In recent years, many commercial identity management solution providers have touted a migration to "Zero Trust" architecture, where identity management is the foundational security layer for user access to secure systems. This approach has been commonplace in the higher education market for decades. Universities and research institutions around the world have developed a rich trust fabric to support global collaborative research and scholarship.

At the heart of this trust framework are national identity federations, such as InCommon in the U.S. and the Canadian Access Federation in Canada. These organizations establish and enforce baseline expectations for user identity creation and management. Over 500 U.S. universities have identity providers registered with InCommon. For organizations like the NIH, which need to enable user login from trusted identity providers across the world, the InCommon federation and the global inter-federation, eduGAIN, enable access for researchers from thousands of universities without having to independently establish trust relationships with each individual institution. 

Given the time and resource savings garnered by this approach, and given the current pressing need to rapidly spin up new research collaborations, the NIH has instituted new authentication requirements that leverage the InCommon federation beginning Sept. 15, 2021.

For many universities, a core component of their Identity and Access Management strategy is Azure AD. The Azure AD platform facilitates migration of identity solutions to the cloud, and consolidation of Single Sign-on and Multi-factor authentication on a single platform. To include multilateral federation as part of a cloud-first Azure AD architecture, Microsoft has worked with Cirrus Identity to enable the registration of Azure AD-based identity systems in national federations like InCommon via the Cirrus Bridge. This solution also enables migration to Azure AD SSO for applications that use the Central Authentication Service authentication protocol, which is especially common in higher education. 

"Having the Cirrus Identity Bridge in the Microsoft Azure AD App Gallery will make it easier for many institutions to facilitate cross-institutional collaboration," says Dedra Chamberlin, CEO and Founder at Cirrus Identity. "Whether campuses need to register an IdP in their national federation, or support legacy CAS applications, the Cirrus Bridge makes your Azure AD implementation quick and easy."

"Cirrus Identity, with their experience in education and Bridge solution, will help customers benefit from the trusted Microsoft Azure AD platform and help ensure federation with critical education federations like InCommon and eduGAIN," said Sue Bohn, partner director, Microsoft Identity at Microsoft.

For more information about the Cirrus Identity Bridge and Microsoft Azure AD, please see the Cirrus Identity announcement


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