Welcome to the TIER
March Newsletter

Welcome to the TIER (Trust and Identity in Education and Research) Newsletter for March 2017. The purpose of this e-newsletter is to keep you informed on what's happening in the TIER project.

About TIER

TIER is a community-initiated effort, coordinated by Internet2, to develop a consistent, rationalized approach to identity and access management that simplifies campus processes and advances inter-institutional collaboration and research. TIER is both an open source toolset and a campus practice set.

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Blog Posts

From the TIER Community Investor Council

TIER Security Focus

Read this blog post for the TIER investor campus perspective on the important work of the TIER Security and Audit Working Group, chaired by Helen Patton of Ohio State. This working group is seeking additional experts from TIER campuses.

TIER Program Review

We’re now midway through the initial investor funding cycle for the TIER program. Under the leadership of Kevin Morooney, we have built an organization that can predictably deliver new software releases with community specifications and oversight by the campuses. We also released two versions of the TIER packages that position us to deliver integrated, tested and, instrumented software.

The TCIC is now working on gathering TIER investor thoughts on the program thus far and determine if any adjustments need to be made. The first of these conversations occurred connected to an already-scheduled meeting in Denver on March 7, with 20 out of 49 investors participating. Please look for an invitation to provide input into the program. We need your thoughts!

Play Your Part To Ensure TIER Meets Your Needs

Kicking the Tires graphic


The TIER Working Group Leads and Development Teams need your help. We can’t develop software that addresses your requirements without you telling us whether we’re on the right track.

The TIER program is based on community working groups developing specifications that inform software development efforts and, in turn, are reviewed and tested by campuses. The working groups then use the campus feedback to tweak the next round of specifications. Having software that fits your needs depends on this continuous iteration. Lather, rinse, repeat! It’s a virtuous cycle!

So play your part:

  1. Download the TIER Production Candidate software
  2. Send your feedback on how the software fits your operation and IAM requirements to tier-adopters@internet2.edu

A great many talented people across the community are working on your behalf. Please give them feedback on how the software fits your needs and expectations. Play your part. Become a Tire Kicker.

Adding Multifactor Authentication to Federation

Read this blog post to learn about the gaps that led to the establishment of the MFA Interoperability Profile Working Group. The solution that this group developed is on track to be adopted as a global standard.

Working Group Updates

TIER Security and Audit

The Security and Audit Working Group, led by Helen Patton (The Ohio State University), is working to expand the team and bring other interested security-minded community members on board to expand collaboration with the other TIER working groups. The group has recently begun a collaboration with the API Security Task Force initiated by the TIER Data Structures and APIs Working Group.

TIER Data Structures and APIs

The TIER Data Structures and APIs Working Group, led by Keith Hazelton (University of Wisconsin-Madison), began development of provisioning/de-Provisioning use cases and overall lifecycle management including request and approval based policies. The group is developing a demonstration implementation with TIER components provisioning a cloud software as a service, with the intent of demonstrating it at the upcoming Internet2 Global Summit (April 22-26).

The group has recently launched an API Security Task Force to research options and develop guidelines around authentication and authorization of API clients and servers. The security of APIs has never attracted the attention it deserves and is rapidly becoming a critical issue with the rise of the API economy.

This group also hosts the work being done on the TIER Grouper Deployment Guide, led by Bill Thompson (Lafayette College). You are invited to participate in the community review of the TIER Grouper Deployment Guide, by adding your feedback and suggestions on the consultation page from March 17 to April 17, 2017. The intent is to release version 1.0 of the TIER Grouper Deployment Guide by the 2017 Global Summit.

TIER Entity Registry

The TIER Entity Registry Working Group, led by Warren Curry (University of Florida), began work on the development of TIER entity registry APIs. There is a focus on a minimal data content required for the TIER compatible registry. Registry minimal data content would provide provisions for institutional extension. The group work is moving ahead as time permits developing a features analysis of commercial provisioning and entity management applications.

TIER Packaging

The TIER Packaging Working Group, led by Jim Jokl (University of Virginia), is now performing testing and documentation updates for the next incremental TIER release which will include updated versions of the Shibboleth and COmanage components. The group is also working on plans for a later TIER release that will include a native Docker container strategy as an emerging requirement from community members kicking the TIER tires.

TIER Component Architects

The TIER Component Architects Group, led by Steve Zoppi (Internet2), aligns the TIER software development leadership, processes and practices, including the common core of technology platforms and tools. Recent calls have focused on the discussion and review of information from the community in response to TIER testing and adoption efforts. Additional areas under consideration including supporting documentation for TIER in the way of quick start guides, best practices documentation, and formalizing a document stewardship process for the identification and preservation of sponsored TIER document releases.

The group continues to monitor and support the TIER working group efforts for developing TIER demonstrations for the upcoming Global Summit.

For more information on the TIER working groups, see the TIER Working Groups home page.

Key Internet2 identity initiatives are supported in part by National Science Foundation grants. For more information, see specific software sites.

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