Title: Director of Technology and Strategy
Division: Trust and Identity
Areas of Responsibility: Technology and strategy for InCommon
Years in Advanced Technology: 15
Best Known For: Being “one of the most technical people” Nate Klingenstein has ever met. I consider this a high honor.
Nick started his IT career at The University of Iowa, as the senior systems administrator at a health science college. He has a passion for “doing the right thing,” and was thus one of the earliest adopters of a number of centralized identity and access management technologies at Iowa. He later became a senior identity architect at Iowa before moving on to help start the Identity Services department at Penn State as a director of technology. He’s had a strong desire to help push forward federated identity as one of the core “right things” over the last decade.
How did you get involved in the field of advanced networking/technology?
Digging really deep—my dad used to bring home salvaged/broken line-printer terminals, serial concentrators, etc., from university surplus when I was very little. He let me take them apart. That probably put the hook in. Later, I wanted to make my very cheap, home-built PC do more, so I installed one of the first Slackware Linux distributions in the mid-90s. In college, I held an IT-related job in a social science institute and saw how IT could help researchers do really powerful work. Ever since, I’ve been interested in how advanced technology can help research and education.
What is your proudest accomplishment in the Internet2 community?
Being a part of all of the CIC schools joining InCommon together in the summer of 2008.
What is the most common technical issue you deal with and how has Internet2 worked to solve it?
I think that the software this community supports—Shibboleth, Grouper, and COmanage—are the best tools available to support federated authentication, group/role/permission management, and collaborative organizations. They continue to be pretty tricky to configure and manage, taking very highly specialized skills to deploy and manage correctly. I think the Internet2 TIER program will help to make these tools more accessible to people and easier to deploy and manage.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
Learning how to continue to foster the excellent work of this community toward the coherent and sustainable advancement of our tools, technologies, standards, and business processes to meet future needs.
What is your favorite part of being an Internet2 employee?
Getting to work with the most knowledgeable, experienced, and thoughtful community of identity and access management technologists (in communities supported by Internet2, InCommon, REFEDS, TIER, MACE, and others) every day.