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Building Identity Trust Federations Conference Call

December 16, 2009

In attendance:
George Laskaris, NJEDGE.Net (Co-Chair)
Suresah Balakrishnan, UMATS
Renee Frost, Internet2
Linda Hilton, Vermont State Colleges
Jack Suess, University of Maryland
Keith Hazelton, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Greg Monaco, Great Plains Network
Todd Piket, MnSCU
Tim Poe, MCNC
Mark Rank, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Garret Sern, EDUCAUSE
Mark Sheible, North Carolina State University
Craig Stephenson, WiscNet
Randy Stout, KanED Network
Steve Thorpe, MCNC
David Walker, UC Davis
Dean Woodbeck, Internet2

* George Laskaris Introduced Jack Suess, co-chair of InCommon Futures

Jack Suess (Presentation)
* Presumption that call participants know InCommon
* Futures Group started meeting in Jan. 2009, with charge to look at InCommon and chart a future how to realize success in federations, what would be the business and governance model, and other factors in terms of activities InCommon should be focused on.
* Constructive dialogue among participants came away with idea that InCommon should be more than just a federation and could potentially provide trust services useful for the community.
* Separated federation as a basic service, as what InCommon is today, which may be sufficient for most universities today. Other services might provide higher levels of assurance associated with them and a range of services in the identity management and/or trust services space, with institutions requiring higher levels.
* Other services may include a certificate service,
* Key issue is building a business model that may bring InCommon into a sustainable entity.
* Currently losing money with each new customer, which would be accelerated by adding more.
* What might be the fee structure to sustain growth? Decided to move to a tiered model (slide 14) in 2010.
* Looked at the EDUCAUSE membership dues structure, but felt we didn't have the time to go with this level of complexity. Will revisit issue this spring.
* Key issue of the potential power of InCommon is we are not using verbatim of NIST levels of trust. Instead, we have been working closely with the agency on level of assurance 1 for the higher education community. We'll be able to produce something that most universities are able to accomplish and implement. This should help leverage InCommon as a trust negotiator.
* Piloting demos with NSF, with hope this spring to make pilots a reality.
* Looking at InCommon Silver level (slide 19) with NIST
* Need to work through question of governance. Currently InCommon Steering Committee acting as an executive committee, peripherally touching on policy issues.
* Steering Committee will take a more proactive role, with I2 committed to focusing on InCommon with the hiring of an executive director.
* Expect to incur expenses before bringing in revenue, so I2 will provide the up-front capital needed with the expectation InCommon will be able to pay them back.
* Some of the activities will be on hold, given the I2 CEO search.
* Note EDUCAUSE joining InCommon. Expect some services from EDUCAUSE using InCommon to access services.
* Seeing great success of InCommon internationally. InCommon can help various national initiatives, including inter-federation. Will continue to be the US connection to those national services.
* Notes list of trust services and expected roll-out dates (slide 20)
* Note managed federations and StateNets wanting to host state-wide federation, with InCommon managing this service.

Q1. Have other associations expressed interest in joining InCommon?
A. Currently no.

Q2. Has InCommon done any more planning around cost mode for managing state-wide services?
A. Not enough due diligence at this time, but estimating $100K at this time, figuring this will eventually be within the $50-$100K range. Not sure what the underlining demand is at this time. It's hard to believe that most states would be able to perform this task for less. Believe once inter-federation support starts to come into play, envision institutions may be part of several federations. Still need to see how this needs to evolve. Don't believe this will work for all services bi-laterally, but foresees a basic service.

Q3. Will there be some part of the upcoming meeting focusing on this topic and state federations?
A. Would appreciate working more closely with StateNets around what becomes a compelling offering from InCommon. Need to define on paper what this really means. If we can come to agreement on this issue, then we can have something for our community may deliver on.

We're looking ahead to expand InCommon from 160 to 300 members, including all Internet2 members. We will then be noticed by the commercial community, encouraging them to work right out of the applications box to incorporate InCommon. We need people in this community to take a leap of faith to join InCommon. Hoping to have this as a product you can buy, rather than needing the on-staff expertise to make it work. One challenge is how we craft the consulting and training activities to help get people up to speed to start deploying InCommon.
Interested in exploring services where StateNets can be helpful and may be better enabled to provide their customers.

Q4. How much thought has been given to issues serving K-12?
A. Have not focused on that. Until we figure out higher ed, we will not be able to serve K-12. This is another area where we can engage StateNets at the appropriate time. George Laskaris - think InCommon needs to adjust its' business model to make it more affordable for K-12. Jack Suess - need to know what application will get K-12 to use this.

Q5. Jack Suess - What are you thinking the application where K-12 will want to leverage the InCommon infrastructure?
A. We're looking at a federation that would allow K-20 faculty, students, and staff to take advantage of state-wide services that would be made available to students. Focusing on that would demonstrate the need for InCommon. Probably isn't enough of a demand for a national K-12 service.

Jack Suess - one idea may be a proposal to take back to InCommon to work with a small group of StateNets members to look at potential opportunities.

George Laskaris - Perhaps creating a subgroup focused on K-12? This will provide a more organized survey to gauge interest of US Feds group.

Jack Suess - one critical plus for collaboration is around StateNets connection with state departments of education and advocacy. For instance, he doesn't feel the U.S. Dept. of Education understands the value of InCommon. Ultimately need the DoEd to be understanding of this, which may be accomplished through some "clueful" states to help articulate the value.

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