Groups grapple with grid security

Several industry groups are researching grid security as more companies begin looking at grids as a way to improve resource utilization and computing power.

For example, The Globus Alliance is working on a wide range of grid-related technologies and standards issues. The group has developed the Globus Toolkit, which is designed to enable secure communication, mutual authentication and single sign-on in a grid environment.

The tool kit is based on an open-source implementation of the Grid Security Infrastructure standards that adds support for single sign-on and delegation of administration, according to the group’s Web site.

The Globus Alliance is made up of a number of organizations, including the Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago and the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute.

The Global Grid Forum (GGF) is working to develop security specifications within The Globus Alliance’s Open Grid Services Architecture. According to Dane Skow, one of the area directors in charge of security at the GGF, the effort is focused on functions such as user authentication and authorization in a grid infrastructure.

For instance, the group is developing a conceptual grid authorization framework to help developers enable better user authorization on grid networks. Another project involves developing procedures and guidelines for enabling the use of X.509 and other technologies for cross-grid user authentication, according to the group’s Web site.

The Enterprise Grid Alliance is a coalition of users and vendors that’s working on grid security as part of a broader effort to address security concerns resulting from the use of shared components in a grid network. The group’s goal is to use existing technologies to handle such issues.

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