Additional new features include enhanced user management and password strength.
The latest release of the Omnilert solution integrates the Shibboleth® single sign-on platform. This technology combined with Omnilert’s participation in the InCommon® Federation, means that existing Shibboleth-enabled organizations will immediately benefit from Omnilert’ enhanced user management and single sign-on convenience without additional integration.
Single sign-on capabilities enable users to leverage their home institution’s login credentials to jump from one secure online application to another without having to set up and then remember multiple passwords for each resource they use.
InCommon is a trust federation in which members like Omnilert agree to use a standards-based authentication protocol (like that provided by Shibboleth) for their interactions. InCommon participants agree on a set of shared policies, processes, and technology standards. This greatly streamlines collaboration among multiple organizations because federation members agree on shared policies and processes once, rather than each time they sign a contract with a new partner.
By the end of June, 2009, Penn State University and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) finished collaborating with Omnilert on the initial development of the InCommon interface. Today, UMBC, University of Maryland Baltimore, and Lafayette College are among the first to take advantage of this convenient single sign-on integration for use with the Omnilert service.
“We are extremely pleased with the Shibboleth implementation in Omnilert which allows us much greater flexibility in the way we provide our critical emergency notifications to our faculty, students and staff through the InCommon Federation,” said Mike Carlin, assistant vice president of infrastructure and support at UMBC.
“For instance, we are now able to set up dynamic groups based on student attributes enabling us to better target our emergency alerts to affected groups on campus. As an example, if a certain dormitory is impacted by an emergency event, we now have the ability to alert just the impacted students and staff in that residence or other specific groups as is appropriate to the issue.”
Carlin added, “We are most excited about the dynamic real-time updates to stay on top of user churn. When students, faculty or staff leave the university, we can automatically remove them from Omnilert. In addition, we can focus internal marketing to the select people that still need to opt-in to Omnilert, without bothering those that have already subscribed.”
Kevin Morooney, the incoming chair of the InCommon Steering Committee and chief information officer and vice provost for information technology at Penn State University, explained, “One of the primary goals of federations like InCommon is to allow universities to provide access to a wide range of off-campus resources while still protecting the security and privacy of their students, faculty, and staff. We who are involved with InCommon are pleased that this new release of Omnilert takes advantage of the benefits of the federation.”
Nick Gustavsson, Omnilert’s chief technology officer said, "We are very proud to be part of InCommon Federation. With more and more schools upgrading to Omnilert, Shibboleth integration is a major decision point for new customers. There is no easier way to integrate your existing school data with any ENS system than with Shibboleth and Omnilert.”
Additional upgrades in Omnilert 3.1 include many new administration functions such as: enhanced user management to include adding single users and viewing user details; enhanced session timeout functionality; and the ability to configure password strength for admin accounts.
InCommon provides the U.S. higher education and research community with the common framework for trustworthy shared management of access to online resources. InCommon facilitates the development of a community-based common trust fabric, allowing participants to make appropriate decisions about the release of identity information and the control of access to protected online resources. InCommon is intended to enable production-level end-user access to a wide variety of protected resources. For more information, visit http://www.incommon.org.