Expecting employees to remember strong and unique passwords for each and every application simply does not scale. Providing employees seamless, secure “single sign-on” access to their applications has become business critical. Standards-based “identity federation” solves these challenges and more.

This white paper introduces identity federation and the predominant standard, Security Assertion Markup Language, or SAML. It describes why standards like SAML are necessary for implementing scalable, secure federated identity across organizations. Additionally, this paper reviews scenarios where SAML integrates with other key federation protocols and the question of WS-Federation or SAML, including the advantages and disadvantages of each.