Tampere University of Technology

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Organisational and cross-organisational identity management

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles


Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTampere
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages103
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-2113-3
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-2077-8
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2009
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Publication series

NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
PublisherTampere University of Technology
ISSN (Print)1459-2045


We are all familiar with the overwhelming number of usernames and passwords needed in our daily life in the networked world. Services need to identify their end users and keep record on them. Traditionally, this has been done by providing the end user with an extra username and password for each new service. Managing all these isolated user identities is painful for the end user and work-intensive for the service owner. Having out-of-date user accounts and privileges is also a security threat for an organisation. Identity management refers to the process of representing and recognising entities as digital identities in computer networks. In an organisation, an end user s identity has a lifecycle. An identity is created when the user enters the organisation; for example, a new employee is hired, a student is admitted in a school or a company gets a new customer. Changes in the end user s affiliation to the organisation are reflected to his identity, and when the end user departs, his identity needs to be revoked. Organisational identity management develops and maintains an architecture that supports maintenance of user identities during their life cycle. In crossorganisational identity management, these identities are used also when accessing services that are outside the organisation. This thesis studies identity management in organisational and cross-organisational services. An organisation s motivations for improving identity management are presented. Attention is paid to how the person registries in an organisation should be interconnected to introduce an aggregated view on an end user s identity. Connection between identity management and introduction of more reliable authentication methods is shown. The author suggests what needs to be taken into account in a usable deployment of single sign-on and PKI for authentication. Federated identity management is a new way to implement end user identity management in services that cross organisational boundaries. This thesis studies how to establish a federation, an association of organisations that wants to exchange information about their users and services to enable cross-organisational collaborations and transactions. The author presents guidelines for organising a federation and preserving an end user s privacy in it. Finally, common use scenarios for federated identity management are presented.

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