February 07, 2003, 11:32 AM — Oblix Inc. has released a new version of its NetPoint identity management and access control software designed to allow online business partners to securely exchange information across corporate boundaries.
NetPoint 6.1, which began shipping Friday, allows users to integrate their security systems with those of their online business partners using an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based security standard called Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML).
Users of the new server software will now be able to log into their corporate portal and access Web-based applications hosted by a partner's site without having to type in another log-in. To do this, NetPoint 6.1 exchanges SAML assertions between the companies' security systems and automatically logs the user into the remote system.
"Previously, employees had to deal with too many user names and passwords," said Nand Mulchandani, Oblix chief technology officer and founder. "What SAML allows us to do is get rid of these log-ins and federate security systems," he said.
The security standard builds on the Cupertino, California, company's COREid identity management system, which provides single sign-on for Web-based applications.
"Access control is dependant on having a great identity management system because companies often have lots of ID data strewn across the enterprise," Mulchandani said.
Using the Oblix software, companies can manage and monitor employees access to information, and with the SAML integration they can now streamline their interactions with online business partners.
Mulchandani added that customers have already purchased NetPoint 6.1 because of its SAML integration.
In fact, the company also announced Friday that Southwest Airlines Co. has signed up as a customer, joining pre-existing clients such as Blockbuster Inc., General Motors Corp. and British Airways Plc.
Mulchandani said that the security integration requires some collaboration between companies' IT departments but that the process only takes a couple of days.
"Some customers are confused about SAML and we spend a lot of our time educating our customer base over what it can and cannot do," he said, noting that the standard is fairly new. However, he added that some customers are "completely blown away by how simple it is to use."
NetPoint 6.1 is priced at US$15 per user, with enterprise pricing available.