Liberty gives advice on external ID federation

Having already set forth the technical requirements needed to create a federated identity architecture, the Liberty Alliance Project released guidelines this week for how companies should include business partners and customers into their networks, saying that it was crucial for the advancement of Web services.

The group released the Liberty Alliance Business Guidelines document at the Burton Catalyst Conference in San Francisco Tuesday, outlining how companies should ensure mutual confidence, risk management, liability assessment and compliance when considering widescale deployment of federated network identity.

The guidelines come on the heels of the group's federated network identity technical requirements, released last year, and the second set of recommendations, which is currently out for public review.

The nonprofit group represents more than 170 companies and organizations working to develop and deploy open, federated network identity standards. Members include companies such as Sun Microsystems, SAP and American Express.

The group's open standards for federated identity compete against Microsoft's Passport service in the user authentication and identity management arena.

However, the Project believes that the open stardards approach will drive the future growth of Web services.

Web services are set to be a US$21 billion industry by 2007, the Project said, citing figures from IDC.

The group believes that extending access to customers, partners and suppliers is the next phase of Web services, and advises companies to put processes in place that guard against losses due to identity fraud and leakage of information.

What's more, companies should determine what parties will bear which losses in a network environment and agree upon policies and procedures for compliance with government standards and privacy policies, according to the Project.

More information on the group's recommendations and technical requirements can be found at The group is expected to release additional guidelines later this year.

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