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Internet2 announced today that VASCO, a leading software security company specializing in authentication products, joined the InCommon Affiliate program.

InCommon, operated by Internet2, provides trust services for the U.S. education and research communities, including an identity management Federation Service and a Certificate Service. The 372 InCommon participants include colleges and universities, research organizations, agencies of the U.S. government, and private companies that offer web-based resources and services.

The Affiliate Program provides the research and education community with a way to safely and efficiently connect with partners that can help build the necessary underlying infrastructure that supports federated access.

VASCO offers strong user authentication to faculty, students, and staff while helping them to move away from complex passwords and reducing helpdesk costs. VASCO’s patented DIGIPASS technology can assist InCommon participants with achieving their desired InCommon certification through increased user access security. Scalability, flexibility, and simplified provisioning tools allow for a cost-effective way to deploy two-factor authentication to large user populations.

“Data integrity and availability of information pose a significant challenge for every organization. The combination of identity federation and strong authentication is a great step towards secure access to online resources for the higher education market,” declares T. Kendall Hunt, Founder, Chairman and CEO of VASCO Data Security. “Secure access to federated platforms is a high priority and this partnership creates a lot of opportunities for both parties involved.”

“We welcome VASCO to Internet2’s InCommon Affiliate Program,” said Jack Suess, chief information officer and vice president for information technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and chair of the InCommon Steering Committee. “Two-factor authentication is of more and more interest to colleges and universities, as well as to InCommon as we begin to introduce higher levels of assurance. VASCO’s experience in strong authentication technologies can provide a key partnership link for our participants.”

The InCommon Federation provides a secure and privacy-protecting method for giving individuals access to protected or licensed online resources, such as library databases, multimedia content, research information, and services provided by government agencies. This shared management of identity and access simplifies online privacy and security. Researchers, students, faculty and staff can access protected or licensed online resources from other member institutions and third-party providers while safeguarding individual privacy.

For more information, and a list of current affiliates, go to www.incommon.org/affiliate.