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NET+ Security and Identity Portfolio update

Aug 04, 2015, by Nick Lewis
Tags: Internet2 NET+, Security & Identity

I've now been back at Internet2 for almost 6 months and it is an exciting time to be here again! There are many opportunities with the NET+ program to work with the community to improve information on campus with many new significant benefits. Having been in the trenches myself working at universities, I know there are many areas we can improve by working together. 

As the program manager leading the NET+ Security and Identity portfolio, I am responsible for developing the portfolio and working with service providers to bring forward more offerings as part of the overall NET+ initiative. In doing so I have been taking the general principles developed by the community for NET+ to security and identity communities as well as bringing their feedback back to NET+ processes and practices.  The Security and Identity portfolio has its origins with services developed under InCommon, which became part of the NET+ Trust and Identity services portfolio a few years ago. More recently, the community requested a greater emphasis on security as well as standalone cloud security solutions. 

Over the past six months, exploratory conversations with 25 security providers have been held, with the community electing to move 3 of these services forward into the NET+ Service Validation phase. Community feedback drives service provider evaluation for the NET+ portfolio.

However, challenges do arise in expanding the NET+ Security & Identity portfolio—even with service providers who have existing higher education customers. For instance, we recently met with to a vulnerability scanning company that had some interest, but they weren’t sure if their customers wanted to collaborate with each other to build a NET+ program. 

Campuses have also been reluctant at times to explore a new service with their peers through NET+ and it's important to note that NET+ sponsorship does not require a commitment to consume a service. In fact at the NET+ Inquiry and Evaluation stages, we would expect at least half of the services not to move forward to a full NET+ Service Validation. Talking with a service provider and Internet2 around a possible NET+ offering provides community benefit even if it does not move forward because the information is shared with other campuses. 

Sponsoring a service your campus already uses provides other significant benefits to the peer community, including: 

  • the ability to engage with your colleagues,
  • benchmark peer best practices around security and cloud, and
  • serve on a roadmap advisory board for that service, and others, to help better tailor the service to the needs of the academy.

It is also possible for campuses to refer a provider to NET+ and suggest leveraging work they have already done. So I strongly encourage the community to let your service providers know you think it would be mutually beneficial for them to participate in the NET+ program. If there are service providers you would like to sponsor or see in the portfolio, please contact me.

As part of developing the portfolio, I have been reaching out to several people individually in the HE information security community to get their feedback. I’ve gotten feedback that this is a good idea and more needs to be documented about how information security is handled in the NET+ program. To engage in more discussion, I’ve setup an email list (netplus-sec-idm@internet2.edu) where we can discuss the security and identity portfolio and NET+ security. I've also reached out to Educause, REN-ISAC, and other parts of Internet2 about how we can work together. 

To obtain more feedback from the community on the direction of the NET+ Security & Identity Portfolio, a development workshop is planned. Learn more about the workshop  

An agenda is also available regarding the different aspects of the portfolio, and feedback on these items will help mold the portfolio to best meet the needs of the higher education to help improve information security. 

Registration information is also available. 

Please feel free to contact me with any feedback or thoughts at nlewis@internet2.edu.

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