IT Center Blog Events: A Follow-up Report

June 2nd, 2023 | by
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There is news! We have informed you before about the developments in the project.

Now, a total of three events have taken place. What is it all about? Find out more in the blog post!

Short Review: What Is All About?

The basic idea behind the project is as simple as it is ingenious: university members in North Rhine-Westphalia should be able to use the IT services of other universities simply and easily by using a common structure to uniquely and qualitatively identify the users of IT services authorizations. Countless and cumbersome accounts distributed across the universities should no longer be necessary in the future.

Initial results have already been achieved to implement this, but much remains to be done. In order to bring together the experts based in NRW, various events have been held in the recent past, such as the second and third Forum and the statewide technology workshop.

Second and Third Forum

At the second and third Forum, 20 IDM experts from the universities of North Rhine-Westphalia came together virtually. During the second Forum, the current results from the work packages Central Groups of People, Evaluation of Technologies and Common Attributes were discussed. In addition, interim results on the use cases were presented. At the third forum, the focus was on the results of the use cases, and In addition, the results and recommendation for the location of the second factor as well as the results of the alliance bwIDM and were discussed and a survey on the technology map for NRW was conducted.

At both dates it was possible to ask specific questions about the presented topics and use cases in breakout rooms.

Intensive Exchange

The interest of the NRW universities in the project became very clear at the events. In addition, it became clear in the two forums that there is a great interest in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in a more intensive exchange about technologies. Furthermore, an even more pronounced report on technology results was desired. Therefore, from now on, statewide technology workshops will be held by the consortium at suitable locations.

The project team noticed that the benefits of the project have not yet been recognized in all dimensions by the universities in NRW.

What Are the Benefits of for NRW Universities?

By cooperating with other universities, the overarching goal of every university – to promote research, teaching and administration – is achieved much more efficiently. This requires the cross-university use of IT services in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In general, the possibility of cross-university cooperation is provided by the authentication and authorization infrastructure of the German Research Network (DFN-AAI). However, a statewide structure for many IT services has not existed until now. This delays research projects, and in the worst case, the lack of IT structures even makes it impossible for a university to participate.

Even if access via the DFN-AAI is possible, it is currently very difficult to determine how users are uniquely identified. Neither uniform structures nor a uniform understanding of these has existed in NRW up to now. would like to change this, as more and more IT services are being created in the state of NRW with the goal of making their service accessible to all university members in NRW. This should not only simplify cooperation, but also strengthen IT security.

Statewide Technology Workshop

The first statewide technology workshop took place on February 28, 2023. About 20 colleagues from NRW exchanged ideas on the topics Grouper, Keycloak, privacyIDEA as well as the settlement of the second factor.

In addition, the survey on the technology landscape in NRW from the third Forum was repeated, as the group of participants had changed.

It became clear that the topic of multifactor authentication is a major issue for universities in NRW. In addition to the technical aspects, organizational implementation is also a very complex issue. The participants had many questions and opinions, ranging from the form of implementation and the support costs involved to the selection of tokens.

Statewide MFA Workshop on June 20, 2023

For the reasons stated above, there will be a separate workshop on multifactor authentication on June 20, 2023.

The focus will be on organizational issues.

Interested persons can register for the statewide MFA workshop via the project website.

Responsible for the content of this article are Corinna Hausberg and Linda Jörres.


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