The eduGAIN service interconnects identity federations around the world, simplifying access to content, services and resources for the global research and education community. eduGAIN enables the trustworthy exchange of information related to identity, authentication and authorisation (AAI). Through eduGAIN, identity providers offer a greater range of services to their users, delivered by multiple federations in a truly collaborative environment; service providers offer their services to users in different federations, increasing their target market; and users seamlessly benefit from the wider range of services.
Benefits of eduGAIN
Today, online services are crucial to research and education. Students, teachers, researchers and institution staff rely on them for collaboration through webmail; e-learning, teaching and conferencing; for analysing and sharing data, and for accessing journals and libraries. Usually, every online service requires a separate account. But with just one trusted identity, provided by their institution as part of an Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructure (AAI), and with participation of this identity provider in national identity federation and international eduGAIN interfederation agreements, users can access services from other participating federations using just a single sign-on (SSO).
There are many different AAI systems in use, all of which control access to networks and applications and ensure the secure movement of information within networks. It is currently necessary for organisations to join one another’s federation in order to establish the relationship necessary to exchange information across these systems.
Enabling easy and convenient access to end users is a key part of delivering a service. The service operator does not want the headaches associated with issuing passwords to users, and the user does not want yet another password to add to his/her collection.
Around the world there are currently more than 35 federations participating in or in the process of joining eduGAIN, with approximately 1,500 identity providers and 500 service providers. These are usually nationally organised with no default connectivity between them. Furthermore, standards vary between these providers.
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