SAFIRE is the South African academic identity federation, meaning we’re focused on South African needs within the broader global context. We’re community driven, and have specifically tailored the services we offer to the needs of the South African higher education sector.
The NSRC, REFEDS & GÉANT have produced a video series on Federated Identity Management, and have specific episodes detailing some of the benefits of becoming an identity provider and the specific benefits it can offer researchers. If you’re new to the concept of federation, this is an excellent introduction.
The main benefits SAFIRE offers identity providers are:
- Immediate access to a wide range of existing global services.
- Simplified integration — identity providers can integrate once with SAFIRE to gain access to multiple service providers; you don’t need to troubleshoot multiple service providers when things go wrong. This should translate to lower startup costs and offer your community access to a wider range of services.
- Faster access to new research — not having to integrate or spin up services allows researchers faster, more seamless access to emerging global research collaborations. The need for quick access to new research was demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
- Better, more standardised, attribute release to service providers. We’re committed to the principles of consent and minimality, and will negotiate with service providers on your behalf to ensure this.
- Mandatory notification to end-users of personal information transfer, helping ease the burden of POPI Act compliance for both identity- and service providers.
Whilst there is a cost for using SAFIRE as identity provider, SAFIRE is run by a non-profit company (TENET), meaning we only ever aim to cost recover our input costs; we’re not in this to make money, we’re in it to make things easier for staff and students of our higher educational institutions.