Bye-bye Cloud ID – Welcome SWITCH edu-ID

About 27,000 people have got mailing from the SWITCH edu-ID team April 19:
Instead of their former Cloud ID account, SWITCH edu-ID would be used as from 1st May  2017 in order to access the services SWITCHdrive and SWITCHengines.

But how should the vast majority of those users, who did not already have a SWITCH edu-ID account, come to such an identity?

Changeover without effort for 98% of users

The usual way to generate a SWITCH edu-ID account is self-registration – this in line with the principle of user centrism. However, in this case the new accounts were generated automatically in order to spare users effort.
Users who have linked their SWITCH edu-ID account with their existing AAI account(s) have substantially facilitated proper account assignment and account aggregation during conversion.

For most users nothing changes as long as they use their new edu-ID in the same way as the Cloud ID before.
Only once users make changes to their SWITCH edu-ID profile or access other services, they will be asked to accept the SWITCH edu-ID terms of use.
The number of questions and support cases was astonishingly low, which proves that the conversion for most users – as planned – was not associated with any negative consequences or additional effort. Some question have been asked by users

  • who had overlooked that in addition to having a SWITCH edu-ID account they need to subscribe for the services SWITCHdrive or SWITCHengines (this is only possible if their home organisation has subscribed the service already),
  • having multiple Cloud ID accounts with different organisational affiliations, or
  • getting their credentials merged since they had both – a Cloud ID and a SWITCH edu-ID account. They needed more information about usage of their credentials.

Whoever had already created a SWITCH edu-ID account before the changeover, might have wondered which username and password should be used now. The easy answer is: Reset your password. This one is then valid for all services.
The primary e-mail address is the username of a SWITCH edu-ID account. It can be changed by the user at any time. This is a valuable feature to get up-to-date contact data from users and to facilitate login for users. Whereas credential synchronization with SWITCHdrive is fully functional (username and password), for SWITCHengines the password only is synchronized yet. SWITCHengines users must type the initially chosen Cloud ID username (email address) to authenticate until full synchronization is implemented too.

Cloud ID as a transitional solution

The conversion of the Cloud ID to the SWITCH edu ID was already planned when the cloud services have been launched and the Swiss edu-ID project was started in 2014, since all SWITCH services should be accessible via single sign-on. It’s realized with SWITCH edu-ID for the shibboletized services for some time. Users have to select the SWITCH edu ID Identity Provider as organisation with active affiliation in the AAI login window. However, it’s always the service who decides whether it allows a user, and which rights he/she receives on the system (whether SWITCHaai account, SWITCH edu-ID or another local account). With this migration the generation of additional service accounts can be avoided in the future and the comfort for the users is increased.

Further upgrading of the infrastructure is on the way

When SWITCH edu-ID was launched in spring 2017, the changeover time had come. The ten-fold increase in the existing user base by the migration of the Cloud ID accounts represents a milestone for the young SWITCH edu-ID service.
Nevertheless, the end of the development of this infrastructure is still far from being completed. The ongoing integration planning of seven universities show further requirements, which should be implemented, also with the objective to realize for their users a conversion to SWITCH edu-ID as smooth as the replacement of the Cloud ID.

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