IBM has added a new single sign-on tool to its Tivoli software range to assist small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to link their web sites with those of partners and customers.
On Monday IBM released the single sign-on tools that 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 SME'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.
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 says.
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 Security Assertions Markup Language version 1.0 and 1.1, Web Services-Federation and WS-Trust to communicate with identity providers and service providers.
The software will run on IBM's flavour 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.