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What Deploying MFA Taught Us About Changing Infrastructure

  • Author(s): Singer, Abe
  • Canon, Richard Shane
  • Hartman-Baker, Rebecca
  • Rowland, Kelly
  • Skinner, David
  • Lant, Craig
  • et al.
Abstract

NERSC is not the first organization to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for its users. We had seen multiple talks by other supercomputing facilities who had deployed MFA, but as we planned and deployed our MFA implementation, we found that nobody had talked about the more interesting and difficult challenges, which were largely social rather than technical. Our MFA deployment was a success, but, more importantly, much of what we learned could apply to any infrastructure change. Additionally, we developed the sshproxy service, a key piece of infrastructure technology that lessens user and staff burden and has made our MFA implementation more amenable to scientific workflows. We found great value in using robust open-source components where we could and developing tailored solutions where necessary.

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