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Can the U.S. Postal Service find a future running a gov't cloud-based authentication service?

Ellen Messmer | Aug. 22, 2013
Under the 3-year $15 million contract awarded to SecureKey Technologies today, USPS gambles on a future in the cloud.

This all suggests a close level of trust and cooperation between all the participants involved, including the government agency, the USPS, and any third-party credential provider. While this kind of authentication brokering hasn't been done yet in the U.S. for government, something similar has been shown to work in Canada.

A cloud-based authentication brokerage system, with technology provided by SecureKey, has been operated by the Canadian government  for well over a year for use by the Canadian Treasury Board and other Canadian agencies.  

According to SecureKey's Boysen, the Canadian credentials exchange now processes over 1 million transactions per month with users entering banking credentials they already have from the Bank of Montreal and TD Bank, for example. The Canadian system has the government's cloud-based credentials exchange service doing a quick online authentication verification with the participating banks concerning the user's credentials before allowing the user into the government online service.

The idea behind it is that users interact frequently with their banks online but infrequently with government services. Thus, they remember their online banking credentials while they are more likely to forget credentials they only use a few times a year for a government service.

It will be some time before it's clear exactly how the USPS-run FCCX might work, but it could give the country's beleaguered mail-delivery service, a new mission. But it might also prove unworkable and fade away after a year of a FCCX pilot cloud project, too.

 

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