Identity Management

USPS picks vendor for cloud-based ID management hub

Cloud Computing

The federal government’s first major test of cloud-based identity management now has a vendor.

A contract to develop the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCCX), a cloud-based hub that will allow people to use third-party credentials to efficiently and securely access multiple federal websites and services, went to Toronto-based SecureKey Technologies, FCW has learned.

Under the deal, USPS will enter into a firm fixed-price contract with SecureKey Technologies with a one-year value of $2.4 million. If two additional one-year options are exercised, the contract’s value could jump to as much as $15 million.

SecureKey Technologies will provide software configuration, hosting, help-desk services and third-party integration.

FCCX is an outgrowth of the White House’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, launched in 2011. NSTIC aims to create an identity ecosystem in which people can tap private or public identity providers for trusted third-party credentials that allow users to log into multiple government resources.

Most agencies have separate in-house identity management systems that require users to create different usernames and passwords for the agency sites and services they access. FCCX would streamline relationships between participating trusted identity providers and agencies by brokering externally issued digital credentials to grant people access to certain federal websites and services.

In-house ID management systems are a costly burden for agencies, according to USPS’ solicitation for the cloud hub earlier this year, and they create “a burden to the citizen to manage a username and password for each agency application they need to access.”

In an interview with FCW for a previous story, Naomi Lefkovitz, senior privacy policy adviser at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said FCCX could help the federal government reduce costs through repetitive credentialing and alleviate username and password issues for citizens.

"Those are really the efficiencies -- and the good customer experience -- we are looking for," said Lefkovitz, who also co-led the FCCX Tiger Team that identified the cloud system's requirements and technical architecture.

That team, which consisted of USPS, the General Services Administration and NIST, began exploring the possibilities for FCCX last year, but it is unclear which agencies will be the first to try the system once it is developed.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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