November 27, 2006 11:33 AM PST

Security from A to Z: Federated ID

Federated identity is all about trust.

It refers to the process of using a single ID to authenticate a user across multiple systems--be they IT systems on a network, a group of Web sites or even different organizations.

In order for this linking up of services to be possible, a group of service providers must get together and agree to accept a single authenticating ID for a user.

The A to Z of security
Read the first part in our rundown of hot security topics, from antivirus to zero-day threats.

The main advantage of a federated identity is convenience, since users of services that have agreed to link up in this way don't have to manage a raft of ID credentials in order to access each resource. Federated identity also facilitates a more personalized service for users, without the security risk of storing a large amount of a user's personal data in one place. It's a bit like a jigsaw puzzle--making up a picture by the joining of each small piece.

But--as with any issue of trust--not everyone buys into the logic of federating identity in this way, as standardization inherently introduces an element of insecurity.

Natasha Lomas reported for in London.

See more CNET content tagged:
identity federation, security


Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.