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Snuggling up with igovt

With more and more government agencies sharing data and offering services online it is not surprising that the terms ‘centralised logon’, ‘single sign on’, or ‘proof of identity’ start to pop up.

In an initiative to help government agencies (service providers) achieve online authentication, the New Zealand government has implemented igovt services (http://www.i.govt.nz). Simply put, the igovt services help you prove your identity to government agencies securely via the Internet while giving them the ability to offer you more personalised online services involving more valuable transactions because they can now have confidence in your identity. In essence, it is now possible to make services available to you online that previously could have only been done in person. Salute!

Currently igovt provide two separate but related services:*

igovt Logon Service
“The igovt logon service allows you to use the same logon details to access all participating government service providers’ online services. This saves you from having to remember multiple logon details for different services.”

igovt Identity Verification Service
“The igovt identity verification service allows you to prove your identity to participating government service providers via the Internet. This will save you time and money because you will not have to use documents repeatedly to prove your identity to every government service provider you deal with.”

This is fantastic for you as a consumer of these services and it is great for government agencies as well. Not only does the igovt logon service and igovt identity verification service allow agencies to become more productive, which is one of the government’s key objectives, it also enables them to broaden the number of services that can be delivered in a self-service fashion, thereby improving access to these services and reducing the cost of delivering them.

The use of a shared infrastructure frees government agencies from the need to provide logon management. That’s right, gone is the need to provide change password functionality, locked account maintenance, or the effort required to keep up with the latest authentication security practices and e-government guidelines. Gone is the need to provide call desk support for end users that cannot remember their passwords, and for identity verification requirements, the need for face-to-face identity verification and the manual processes that support this can also be a thing of the past. All this can now be handled by igovt. This results in a cost reduction in overall investment and operational costs of multiple authentication systems across government while allowing a government agency to deliver new services online faster and cheaper. Did someone say increased productivity, a reduction in cost and responsibility without a reduction in application scope? Sold.

So how does Intergen fit in? Last year we engaged with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to integrate their Identity Services portal with the igovt logon service. In doing so we created a Microsoft .NET-based component that simply plugs in with any existing ASP.Net web application that uses Forms Authentication** - including SharePoint. Since then this component has been used in two more successful integration scenarios.

Our latest endeavour with the DIA has seen us produce the country’s first integration with the igovt identity verification service (IVS). The bdmonline.dia.govt.nz website allows Jane and Joe Public the ability to order birth, death, and marriage certificates online. This is just the beginning of what the use of igovt services is enabling government agencies to accomplish, so watch this space.

Intergen’s igovt Integration component handles the communication between the government agency’s application and the igovt service to satisfy a number of different authentication use cases. What this means is that we have a component that insulates the government agency from the need to understand the technical intricacies of terms and technologies like Security Assertion Mark-up Language (SAML), Assertion Consumer Services, Federated Logon Tag (FLT) and Federated Identity Tag (FIT) while providing the use case scenarios required for online registration, first time identification, and ongoing access. Not only do we have the component that makes snuggling up with igovt a breeze from a technical standpoint, but we also have the experience and knowledge to help the government agency easily navigate the requirements and processes required to be fulfilled as they sail through igovt waters.

Intergen’s igovt Integration component is ready to be configured for use from the simplest logon use case consuming just the igovt logon service through to a complete first-time registration and ongoing access using the igovt logon service and the igovt identity verification service together.  
igovt is here to stay so get onboard and reap the benefits!

* content snippets taken from igovt website

** requires Microsoft .NET framework v3.5 or higher

Posted by: Lee Herd, Architect, Architecture Services | 02 December 2009

Tags: igovt, Single Sign On

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