Online authentication, authorization service launched by start-up

Software is a commercial version of an identity management platform developed by The Walt Disney Co.

Start-up Bitkoo has launched an online identity management service that provides authentication and authorization capabilities to corporations that want to secure access to their applications without having to build infrastructure.

Bitkoo is using its Keystone technology, a commercial version of an identity management platform developed and deployed by The Walt Disney Co., to support the service, which hooks into a corporation's directory.

When users attempt to sign into an application, their credentials as passed to the Keystone service. The service uses the corporate directory to authenticate the user and then issue an XML-based authentication assertion that can contain any number of access rights related to the user. Those rights can be as sharply defined as the buttons the user is allowed to click within an application.

Subscribers to the service use a Web-based interface to load the roles and policies that govern each of their users.

Bitkoo officials say the service also can be used as a backup for a Keystone server deployed on premise. If that server were to fail, authentication and authorization duties could default to the service.

The Keystone service also includes Bitkoo's SecureWithin technology, which allows firewall-protected resources such as Web services and applications to be exposed only to authorized clients.

"We install SecureWithin gateway at the client site and within minutes we give access to Keystone software as a service over the Internet," says Doron Grinstein, CEO of Bitkoo.

"It takes a couple of hours to configure [roles/policies] and they have Keystone dial tone without having to build any infrastructure."

A subscribing company only has to add a small agent to their application to allow it to talk to the Keystone server.

Keystone allows organizations to secure any kind of application including disconnected mobile applications, Web services, Web applications and rich-client applications.

Grinstein developed Keystone and wrote the code Disney, which has been using Keystone for nearly three years to handle 10 million authorization requests per day and to protect access to many of its critical applications such as the central reservation system at Walt Disney World.

Experts have touted the software for its ability to solve the long standing problem of how to move authorization responsibilities away from applications and into a centralized service to ease deployment and management.

Keystone provides that centralized engine and eliminates the need for authorization mechanisms to be built into applications.

Web services and applications written with tools such as Java, .Net, Delphi and COM need only a single line of code to turn their authorization duties over to Keystone.

Keystone's access controls can be dialed down to secure individual applications and features of those applications based on any criteria including time and IP address.

Keystone integrates with existing backend systems, including Active Directory, LDAP-based directories and CA's SiteMinder Web access management platform.

A centralized console provides a GUI interface for setting and administering policies on user access, and the database logs every authentication and authorization for future auditing, reporting and compliance chores.

Bitkoo is offering the online authentication and authorization service for $10 per user per year. Keystone also is available as a hardware appliance, virtual server appliance or software.

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