by Harold Lockhart
As more and more systems are linked through Web services, portals, and integrated applications, the need for a standard that allows security information to be shared and exchanged becomes more and more apparent. Security Assertion Markup Language, or SAML, provides a robust, yet extensible set of data formats to communicate identity and authentication information in a variety of environments. Identity Federation, a key concept driving the need for and the definition of SAML, means using information from multiple, independently administered sources to implement security services such as authorization. Along with Single Sign-on (SSO), SAML is a requirement for modern networked environments.
Before computers were routinely connected to networks, security services—like authentication and authoriza