Oblix updates NetPoint software

Oblix Inc. announced version 5.0 of its NetPoint identity management and authentication software Monday, touting new group management and administration features as well as added support for XML (extensible mark-up language).

NetPoint allows users to enter a single user name and password combination to sign on to multiple systems simultaneously. The software manages access control lists for systems and applications by individual, by group or by company. It also has identity management functions, such as certificate generation and password administration.

The software is often used in business-to-business settings, where a company might grant a partner or supplier limited access to their systems, said Shelly Wilson, vice president of marketing at Oblix.

The new version of the software cost more than US$15 million to develop, according to Enrique Salem, senior vice president of product technology at Oblix. For that money, Oblix was able to add a number of new features. NetPoint 5.0 includes new management options for access groups, allowing managers to dynamically update groups using LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol).

"Historically, people have managed groups in a static fashion," but by adding dynamic features, organizations can save money and time and make fewer mistakes, Salem said.

NetPoint 5.0 also aims to reduce the time spent dealing with password-related matters, which can account for 20 percent to 30 percent of all help desk inquiries, by allowing users to resolve those problems themselves, said Wilson.

Along with dynamic management options, the new software allows administration of groups to be delegated to partners, including partners outside the company. If the NetPoint user does business with a second company who has a group of users with access to the NetPoint user's systems, a user at the second company can be designated the administrator of that group, saving money and time for the NetPoint user, Salem said.

NetPoint 5.0 adds support for XML in the form of PresentationXML, which is used to create user interfaces. Thanks to the XML and groups features, different groups can be given different user interfaces that have varying levels of complexity. Including XML situates the product well for the future, Salem said, where more systems will be communicating with each other using the standard. For the present, using XML will simplify interface development and information exchange, he said.

Lastly, the software adds certificate management with VeriSign Inc.'s OnSite technology, which will allow certificates to be created at the same time users are entered into the system. Certificates can be automatically generated, which can help save additional time and money, according to Salem.

NetPoint 5.0, which is sold to financial services and high tech companies, as well as to universities and government agencies, has been shipping since late June and is available worldwide priced at $50 per user.

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