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Watchdog IdP : Single Sign-on Service
What is it?
As a longstanding provider of Internet-hosted services, Watchdog now provides a commercial IdP (Identity Provider) service which allows an organisation to enjoy the benefits of a “single sign-on” (SSO) service.
As its name suggests, SSO can, by interacting with the school’s directory information, allow end users on your network to log in once and then have the appropriate level of access to all appropriate applications (or services) on your network – library system, learning management system, video application, etc.
Why would your school or organisation be interested?
Schools (and other organisations) have a growing number of applications available to their computer users – how does the school ensure security of access without the complexity of multiple logins (and passwords) for each application? And how can it be done most easily and cost-effectively?
A hosted single sign-on service from a trusted IdP like Watchdog is the answer.
The number of strategic applications (and particularly hosted ones) is growing quickly, especially with the accelerating deployment of high speed (and ultra-fast) broadband such as fibre. Brilliant new cloud computing services like Google Apps and the hosted versions of LMSs like KnowledgeNet, Ultranet and Moodle are unlocking the door to new and exciting ways for children to learn, staff to work and parents to be involved in schools.
So what does Watchdog’s IdP provide?
Our SSO service supports:
- Active Directory, Novell or Open Directory
- SAML 2.0 compatible services (applications) listed in the MoE’s MLE Reference Group
- two organisational units
- user/password match
- standard security certificate (not extended validation)
- LDAPS (LDAP over SSL) but SSH (or other secure tunnel) is recommended
- skin with school logo (and basic user information)
Why use Watchdog?
- unparalleled experience in providing hosted Internet services to NZ schools, having done so since 1999 and now encompassing over 1,500 schools
- high degree of technical expertise in SSO and related technology
- premier facilities at a leading New Zealand data centre
- experienced, friendly, freephone Helpdesk
- full support of Ministry of Education, including part-funding for selected schools and joint development with Catalyst
What about the Ministry of Education?
The Ministry of Education recognised the need for SSO some time ago and has run a number of live trials in conjunction with Catalyst and selected schools to establish a suitable methodology. Watchdog has developed its service in close consultation with the Ministry and Catalyst and continues joint development.
How much does it cost?
Watchdog’s IdP is priced on usage which is proportional to the number of end users, the number of applications involved and the amount those applications are used.
We offer four plans based on usage and these are priced (monthly, excluding GST) as follows:
Lite – $29
Medium – $59
Large – $99
Extra Large – $139
Setup costs are PoA. As noted, Ministry of Education funding may be available for both the setup and the ongoing monthly charge.
Our team will consult with your inhouse or external ICT technicians to plan and deploy the SSO service.
A key aspect is what applications (or services) does the school use for which it wants to have “single sign-on”. Based on the Ministry’s published guidelines, an increasing number of application providers have been updating their service to make it suitable for SSO – please refer to http://groups.google.com/group/mle-reference-group/web/school-apps-supporting-single-sign-on?hl=en-GB
We believe that any school using or looking to deploy Google Apps, MyPortfolio (Mahara) or one of the three main LMSs (KnowledgeNet, Ultranet or Moodle) should immediately consider using SSO to facilitate ease-of-use and security.
Another key aspect is the integration with your directory service and this will need to be carefully worked through together.
Where to from here?
Many schools will be interested in SSO and the possibility of Ministry funding so, if you’re one of them, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP