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Federation in the Cloud

A GROWING NUMBER OF companies are seeking the efficiency and cost savings they can get with managed online services, which can assist with office functions ranging from human resources to security to communications. But tying together multiple in-the-cloud services with a single-sign-on solution can be a challenging task.

One company, TriCipher, of Los Gatos, California, is offering a product to give managed Web service customers federated access, or a way of signing onto multiple Web services with a single user name and password. myOneLogin allows each customer to have a single sign on to each Web-based application regardless of where in the cloud that service resides.

Motion Media Solutions, a small Dallas-based media production company, found myOneLogin when it was looking to add more managed Web solutions, says CEO Ross Mason.

The company had been using Salesforce, a leading cloud-based customer-relationship-management service provider, and it was hoping to add additional services from Google Apps as well as Basecamp, a hosted project-collaboration solution, he says.

Mason learned about the difficulties of tying Web-based solutions together as a former chief information officer at a larger company. He says he found that tying the applications together could be expensive, sometimes requiring a team of consultants to engineer a proprietary solution.

Setting up myOneLogin took very little time, he says. The solution is provided as a service from TriCipher and doesn’t require any in-house software installation.

Mason says myOneLogin creates efficiencies and gives him a competitive advantage. Both his customers and his employees appreciate the single-sign-on experience, he says.

The product also helps with customer service. Mason can log in at any computer and view consolidated information on customers on a single Web page. He can view consolidated billing and accounting information from several applications at once, for example. He says myOneLogin also helps synchronize related applications, such as calendars. And it’s easy to quickly add or delete customers, or temporary workers.

TriCipher says the product uses strong authentication to protect the login from phishing, man-in-the-middle, and other password-stealing attacks. Users also connect to applications with a secure sockets layer virtual private network. The solution, helps with compliance as well, says Mason. Through a single administrative interface, it logs which applications users access and when. It also delivers easy-to-read compliance reports, he says.

In addition to granting access to some of the largest software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, such as Google Apps, WebEx, Salesforce, and Microsoft Outlook Web Access, the product is also compatible with more than 50 common Web sites ranging from eBay to Paypal. TriCipher says pricing for myOneLogin starts at $1 per user per month.