X-FEDERATE: A Policy Engineering Framework for Federated Access Management


Policy-Based Management (PBM) has been considered as a promising approach for design and enforcement of access management policies for distributed systems. The increasing shift toward federated information sharing in the organizational landscape, however, calls for revisiting current PBM approaches to satisfy the unique security requirements of the federated paradigm. This presents a twofold challenge for the design of a PBM approach, where, on the one hand, the policy must incorporate the access management needs of the individual systems, while, on the other hand, the policies across multiple systems must be designed in such a manner that they can be uniformly developed, deployed, and integrated within the federated system. In this paper, we analyze the impact of security management challenges on policy design and formulate a policy engineering methodology based on principles of software engineering to develop a PBM solution for federated systems. We present X-FEDERATE, a policy engineering framework for federated access management using an extension of the well-known Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) model. Our framework consists of an XML-based policy specification language, its UML-based meta-model, and an enforcement architecture. We provide a comparison of our framework with related approaches and highlight its significance for federated access management. The paper also presents a federation protocol and discusses a prototype of our framework that implements the protocol in a federated digital library environment.


PBM, access management, organizational landscape, security, federated systems, xml, uml, protocol, digital library

Date of this Version



IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, May 2006 (vol. 32 no. 5), pp. 330-346