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ICANN's High Standards Recognized with Industry Achievements

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As Continuous Improvement Manager for ICANN's IANA department, my role is to help ensure that we meet our strategic objective of advancing organizational, technological and operational excellence. The idea of continuous improvement, a founding tenet of ICANN culture, is the commitment to achieving excellence with the understanding that processes and dynamics are constantly evolving. Our team is committed to demonstrating high standards of service and we strive to strengthen our commitment to stakeholders as we move forward together.

We have several processes in place for the independent review of IANA functions' work and to ensure reliable, quality and efficient service in our various registration roles. Recently, several achievements have highlighted our department's dedication to these goals.

Today we announced that we have achieved the Service Organization Control (SOC) 3 certification, previously known as Systrust, of our Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) Root Key Signing Key systems for the fifth consecutive year, and also successfully completed our SOC 2 Report, which evaluates key systems used to support IANA transaction processing functions. International accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) conducted all SOC audits, past and present.

The SOC 3 and SOC 2 are part of a set of audits developed and managed jointly by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). Undergoing independent audits helps assure that we have the appropriate internal controls in place to meet availability, processing integrity and security service levels for the IANA functions. The audits are conducted annually and our team is constantly evaluating and updating our systems and controls.

In November 2014, we released findings from the IANA Functions Customer Service Survey. Ninety-three percent of respondents reported overall satisfaction with the quality of service delivered for all of the IANA functions. The survey was administered independently by Ebiquity, a global media, marketing and reputation consultancy. IANA functions customers who had used the services in the previous 12 months were invited to participate. This is the third year we have solicited user feedback, which we use to drive future process improvements. Read more about the survey findings [PDF, 968 KB].

In addition to these recent achievements, our department also received EFQM's "Committed to Excellence" certification, following an assessment conducted by a panel of three independent assessors in August 2013. Founded in 1989, the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) is the not-for-profit membership foundation that publishes the EFQM Excellence Model, a comprehensive management framework used by more than 30,000 organizations around the world. ICANN proactively engaged EFQM to perform the review and identify improvements using its model. Today, we are working to further enhance our performance and operations, within the EFQM framework, based on the feedback received during the assessment.

ICANN embarked on a path toward operational excellence of the IANA functions over five years ago and our 2014 Service Organization Controls audit reports demonstrate our emphasis on having the appropriate controls in place for the IANA functions. Our commitment to continuous improvement remains a key priority for the organization.


    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."