Saturday, July 03, 2004

Gearing Up for the Conference

I'm giving a presentation entitled "Blackboard 6 Authentication" at the 2nd Annual Blackboard Building Blocks Developers Conference on July 27, 2004. Initially, I'll use this blog (thanks Blogger!) to flesh out some ideas related to authentication and single sign-on (SSO) at the enterprise level (intranet), and then perhaps speculate a bit about the current state of federated identity management solutions at the inter-enterprise level (extranet). During the conference (7/26–7/27), I'll capture my view of the conference proceedings here as well.

Briefly, Blackboard is a web e-learning platform. The enterprise version of Blackboard (Bb) has an extensive set of APIs for enhancing and extending the platform. In particular, there is a Java-based authentication API with hooks into the Bb authentication system, which allows institutions to integrate Blackboard into an existing enterprise authentication/SSO framework.

This assumes, of course, that an authentication/SSO framework already exists at the enterprise level, so we'll start there...what might such a framework consist of? Minimally, the framework I have in mind provides for 1) authentication services, 2) single sign-on, 3) validation services, and 4) authorization. We will give a brief introduction to each of these topics in what follows.