IBM has added a new single sign-on tool to its Tivoli software range to make life easier for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) to link their Web sites with those of partners and customers.
Single sign-on tools aim to save users the trouble of remembering separate passwords for each service they use, and simplify life for systems administrators by using a single identity store to control access to multiple services.
Using Federated Identity Manager Business Gateway, an SMB's employees, customers, and partners can log on to the company's Web site and then have that site confirm their identity when they connect to applications on related Web sites, without the need to log in again. The new software is a simplified version of IBM's existing federated identity management software, making it quicker and cheaper to deploy, the company said Monday.
One advantage of the system for small businesses is that they can use the software to federate their systems with those of their larger partners, leaving the lion's share of the administration to their partners, IBM said.
IBM is competing with suppliers such as Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and RSA Security (now part of EMC) to offer federated identity management tools. But IBM is also cooperating with those companies, and others, to develop standards to enable communication between them -- a necessity if identity management is to be truly "federated."
The Tivoli software uses SAML (Security Assertions Markup Language) version 1.0 and 1.1, WS-Federation (Web Services-Federation) and WS-Trust to communicate with identity providers and service providers. Based on IBM's WebSphere Application Server 6.1, Federated Identity Manager Business Gateway can connect to applications built with J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) or Microsoft's .Net.
The software will run on IBM's flavor of Unix, AIX 5.2 or 5.3; on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 for x86 servers and for IBM's S/390 mainframe; on Sun's Solaris 9 and 10, and on Microsoft's Windows Server 2003, IBM said.
Pricing is per user or per server, according to IBM.