Protocom gives single sign-on a boost

It may have taken close to a year and a half for Protocom Development Systems to put the finish touches on version 3.0 of its SecureLogin Single Sign-On (SSO) but given the upgrades made, it could very well have been worth the wait.

SSO is based on the philosophy of having a single key or password which becomes the entry point for users to all the systems they are authorized to use, while addressing security issues. Historically, SSO has been thought of as both costly to install and a complex system to integrate, but despite these claims, it is increasingly finding its way into the security-conscience enterprise.

Some of the upgrades made to Protocom’s SSO 3.0 include: LDAP integration, with an optional integrated LDAP GINA; increased soft token and pass ticket support; an improved drag-and-drop wizard for login and password change; a simplified user interface for accessibility by disabled users; Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft Management Console Support; and it is now available in multiple languages.

“In essence a user would use either a Windows domain or Active Directory log in to build an authenticated connection to their directory. The Secure Sign-On agent uses that trust to be able to access that data that is normally installed in the data itself,” said Jason Hart, CEO for Protocom in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The SSO only represents one portion of the company’s available Password Management Suite of products, which include Self Service Password Reset and Advanced Authentication for Citrix, mainframe and Unix. While SSO is available as a standalone for US$79 per user, SSO can be bundled with the Advanced Authentication for an additional US$20.

By using SSO, security is handled via 192-bit of encryption and triple DES along with open SSL, and security can be increased by bundling Advanced Authentication because it uses biometrics, smart card and token technologies.

One analyst noted that as single sign-on technology moves out of its stage of infancy, its core functionality hasn’t changed.

“The basic problem that people in this industry are solving is how to handle, in a secure way, the authentication (of) information from application to application so that applications can check for themselves that this is a legitimate user,” said Peter Stokely, principal analyst for Stokely Consulting in Silver City, N.M.

What continues to make SSO attractive for both the system administrator and the authenticating user is SSO means only authenticating once. Hence, the authentication process is less tedious for the user and cuts down on calls to the administrator from frantic users who have forgotten their password yet again. And as another industry analyst suggested, SSO has one more added benefit.

“Single sign-on gives you a solution you can marry up to your products. You do the integration work to get your product to work with those systems and you have a single system that you manage that is designed specifically for password and user functionality based on SSO,” said Scott Loveland, forensic for KPMG in Toronto. Loveland was particularly impressed with how well Protocom was able to integrate with legacy mainframes, Java applications and Windows technologies in itd new release.

He added that while the enterprise is responsible for the integration of SSO to work with existing products, ultimately it leads to a single system that is designed specifically for password and user functionality.

The Protocom SecureLogin Single Sign-On is now available. For additional pricing information, visit