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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

As expected, Oasis, the consortium of vendors and end users which stewarded the development of the XML standard, has announced that Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) version 1.0 has been ratified as an Oasis Open Standard.

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (Oasis) says that SAML is an XML-based framework for web services, that allows the exchange of authentication and authorization information among business partners. It enables web-based security interoperability functions, such as single sign-on, across sites hosted by multiple companies.

"SAML lets companies implement single sign-on solutions that allow users to visit various web sites without being repeatedly challenged for credentials," said Joe Pato of HP, co-chair of the Oasis Security Services technical committee. "In addition, SAML makes it possible to include security information in documents used in business transactions. This is particularly relevant for web services, where security is critical."

SAML's status as an Oasis Open Standard means it has achieved the highest level of ratification. Many vendors, including the likes of Baltimore Technologies, Computer Associates and IBM/Tivoli have already committed to SAML 1.0 and are in the process of designing its specification into their products.

SAML incorporates industry-standard protocols and messaging frameworks, such as XML Signature, XML Encryption, and SOAP. The specification can be integrated in standard environments such as HTTP and standard web browsers. Likewise, other security environments can use SAML as an authentication and authorization layer. Oasis argues that SAML complements web services standards, such as SOAP, which lack inherent security features.

SAML was developed by Baltimore Technologies, BEA Systems, Computer Associates, Entrust, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, IBM, Netegrity, Oblix, OpenNetwork, Quadrasis, RSA Security, Sun Microsystems, Verisign, and other members of Oasis.

Earlier this week Oasis announced that it has expanded by including the PKI Forum as its newest member section. By taking in the three-year-old PKI Forum, Oasis will be able to ensure the security standard develops in tandem with the security requirements of web services. PKI has been dogged by issues of complexity, integration difficulties and user apathy.

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