The University of Montana

NetID as master key

In Communication, Security, Strategy, Systems, Web on February 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm

UM joins federation that will allow campus users to log into external services using local credentials

Every UM student and employee has a NetID login and associated password that provides access to a growing number of web services on campus. The next step is to extend the convenience and security of a single login credential beyond campus.

UM recently joined InCommon, a federation of higher education institutions and partners who have a need to collaborate and conduct business through secure web services. Partners include research funders, government agencies and vendors who provide web-based services to colleges.

Logging into off-campus web services using a local username and password is achieved through federated identity management. UM and other members of InCommon will use standard data formats for identifying users, making it easy to set up trust relationships.  The benefit is that users have one set of login credentials to remember and manage rather than a separate username and password for every system they access. And service providers no longer need to manage databases of user accounts for access control. Beyond convenience and efficiency, federated identity management reduces the risk that your personal information will be compromised or misused.

Don’t know your NetID?

Go to and click on the
“What is my NetID” link

About 200 colleges and universities have joined InCommon, along with about 80 government, non-profit and business partners. The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation are InCommon members, as are Microsoft, Apple iTunes U, Blackboard, MoodleRooms and the National Student Clearinghouse, all of which provide services to UM students and faculty.

Gary  Trethewey, manager of Directory Services in IT, says he expects UM to have the hardware and software in place by fall to begin taking advantage of federated identity management.

This article appears in the February, 2011 edition of IT’s Bits newsletter.


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