A recent ECAR report identified public key infrastructure (PKI) as one of the 10 “least familiar technologies in the higher education IT environment. This post explores several points of confusion when it comes to understanding PKI and PKI implementations on campus.
BiographyPaul Caskey is the Chief Technology Officer in The University of Texas System Administration's Office of System-Wide Information Services. He has primary responsibility for the development and operation of the U.T. System Identity Management Federation and is the chair of the federation's Technical Advisory Group. Paul is a member of the InCommon Federation's Technical Advisory Committee as well and is a lead instructor for InCommon's Shibboleth training classes. Paul is also heavily involved in the U.T. System's various Shared Services projects and the development of the U.T. System Research Cyberinfrastructure. Paul has an extensive background in networking, security, and I.T. infrastructure and is currently active in local/wide area networking, Unix/Windows System Administration, and I.T. Security, as well as a variety of identity management areas, including registries, directories, provisioning, credentialing, federation, PKI, and application integration, having done talks and presentations on these topics at many workshops and conferences in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Paul has a Master of Science degree in Management Information Systems from Texas A & M University.
Public key infrastructure (PKI) certificates form the backbone of most if not all Internet security authentication for sites and services and encrypted network transport today. Higher education is heavily invested in the technology used to create and manage these certificates. PKI supports secure data exchange and authentication over the Internet via the distribution and identification of public encryption keys.
Four case studies were undertaken in the course of this project with partial funding from an Extending the Reach (ETR) grant from the National Science Foundation Middleware Initiative-Enterprise and Desktop Integration Technologies (NMI-EDIT) Consortium.