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Checking Contacts in Metadata First Step in Getting Ready for Baseline

Sep 29, 2017, by Dean Woodbeck
Tags: Frontpage News, InCommon Federation, InCommon Participant, Recent Posts

By Tom Barton, Senior Consultant for Cyber Security and Data Privacy at the University of Chicago

In July, I drew your attention to a set of Baseline Expectations  that will become required for every InCommon participant sometime in 2018. The goal is to improve metadata quality and improve its usability by reducing the variance from one entity to the next, and ensure that the InCommon Federation manifests a baseline level of trustworthiness that enables its strategic value to Research and Education to continue to grow.

We’ve communicated about the expectations themselves, the implementation plan, and the need for ongoing processes to help everyone keep their entity metadata up to date. We’ll have more to say about those processes in subsequent communications, but for now, as the time to meet those expectations draws nigh, I want to encourage all site administrators throughout InCommon to take a minute to check the health of their federation metadata.

As a first step, please check that you have the appropriate contacts listed in your metadata. These will be required as part of Baseline but you can get ahead of the curve by adding (or updating) those now:

  • Technical contacts (one of these is already required)
  • Site administrator contacts (having one of these is already required)
  • Security contacts (this is not currently required, but will be under Baseline Expectations)

We have a handy web page that you can use to check the status of these and other metadata elements. If you navigate to this Federation Info page, you’ll see one tab for IdPs (identity providers) and one for SPs (service providers). Click the tab, find your entity, and click the link. Up pops a window that shows you whether those contact elements (as well as others) are populated. If they aren’t, or if there is old information, please take a minute and update your metadata using the Federation Manager.

Having these contacts in metadata provides a straightforward way for other InCommon participants to get in touch with the right person at your organization should the need arise.

You will hear more about these elements, other metadata elements, and other aspects of the Baseline program later this fall and into 2018. But for now, why not concentrate on those three contact elements?