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The InCommon Assurance process is designed to support the needs of service providers that must require identity providers to meet a more detailed set of requirements than is defined with our basic federation services. The National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation are examples of such service proviers.

These new assurance levels are named bronze and silver and originally corresponded with the National Institute of Standards (NIST) security guide 800-63 for level 1 and level 2 of assurance. Silver provides a higher level of assurance, including criteria for more robust identity management and identity-proofing procedures. InCommon has undertaken a detailed review and as a result is refining the Identity Assurance Profile with the goal of simplifying the profile and ensuring it meets the current requirements of the federal government. 

This project has two main drivers:

1. The federal government requirements have changed. The standards are now being developed by the Identity, Credential and Access Management (ICAM) effort at the GSA. The Identity Assurance Profiles were originally written to comply with an older government initiative - eAuth - which is no longer active and had a number of criteria that no longer apply.

2. A group of schools has been working through the Silver adoption process and uncovering a number of questions and recommendations. These have also been incorporated into the updated profile.

The updated Identity Assurance Profile and the related Identity Assurance Assessment Framework are now available for community comment. In the box to the right, you will find links to the new documents (both version 1.1), along with the current 1.0 versions. I invite you to send your comments to

We will accept comments through March 28, 2011, with the goal of completing this process by April 11, 2011.

The community wishes to thank the schools that have been working on the Silver adoption process – the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which includes the Big Ten plus the University of Chicago, along with the University of Washington and Virginia Tech. In addition, a group of member-institutions of SURA (Southeastern University Research Association) has recently started a Silver adoption process. Both of these collaborations will document their efforts, which will help all of us as we move to adopt Silver.

Related Documents and Resources

Identity Assurance Assessment Framework

Bronze and Silver Identity Assurance Profile

Frequently Asked Questions About the Silver Refinement

Assurance Profile Assessment Checklist [Excel]

InCommon Assurance Technical Procedures

Silver Report from the CIC: Phase 1 [PDF] - A report from the first of three phases of the CIC effort to implement Silver.

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