Saturday, May 25, 2013
Hewlett-Packard, battling falling demand for personal desktop and laptop computers by selling more servers, storage and software as well as cutting costs, turned in a mixed-bag Q2 2013 earnings report on May 22.
Revenue and profits were both down in double figures, but the good news was that they were not down as much as expected by Wall Street analysts.
HP's profits totaled $1.1 billion, or 55 cents per share, during its most recently completed quarter. That was down 32 percent from $1.6 billion, or 80 cents per share, last year. Revenue fell 10 percent from a year ago to $27.6 billion.
A survey of analysts had projected HP would come in at 81 cents a share on revenue of $28.12 billion.
Despite the dips in bottom-line numbers, HP investors apparently see enough progress in the approach of CEO Meg Whitman (pictured) to think the company is finally making headway in its turnaround.
"The results were better than feared," Bill Kreher, an Edward Jones analyst, told the Associated Press.
HP stock zoomed up $2.84, or about 13 percent, to $24.07 in trading after the closing bell. If the stock continues in a similar fashion May 23, it would mark the largest one-day percentage gain in the company's stock in more than four years.
Nonetheless, HP's stock is still nearly 50 percent below where it was only three years ago.
Whitman, ever the optimist, told listeners on the conference call that "you can feel the turnaround taking hold at HP. We beat the upper end of company projections ... and I feel good about the rest of the year."
HP, the world's largest maker of PCs and printers, has been troubled for years with a declining market for PCs, lower printer demand and leadership issues in its executive offices, with four CEOs in the last 13 years.
Deploying an update of its DB2 database, IBM is pitching its SmartCloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) for use in data reporting and analysis.
"We're the only player in the marketplace that has [a cloud service] for data-in-motion -- being able to analyze data in real time," said Bob Picciano, IBM's general manager for Information Management.
Starting in the second half of this year, the IBM SmartCloud IaaS will start using version 10.5 of IBM's DB2 database, which should be generally available by early June. One new set of technologies that will come with this database, collectively called BLU Acceleration, can speed data analysis by 25 times or more, IBM claimed.
IBM also announced that SmartCloud can now run copies of SAP's HANA in-memory database, initially for test and development jobs.
BLU (a code name that stood for Big data, Lightening fast, Ultra easy) is a set of technologies that optimize the speed of DB2 queries for in-memory databases. It offers columnar processing, in which only the needed columns of a database table are read in order to speed performance. It skips over unneeded data, such as duplicate entries. It can use multiple processor cores to execute a query, using parallel vector processing techniques. It also includes a compression technology that minimizes the amount of space a data set needs, while still providing easy accessibility for quick analysis.
A customer can continue to use preferred business intelligence (BI) software and just redirect the SQL and OLAP (Online analytical processing) queries from the BI software to the IBM service. Each DB2 instance on SmartCloud can run on up to 16 processor cores, which collectively could manage a terabyte or more of memory.
"You don't need a lot of cores to be able to take advantage of this kind of parallelism, because we're so efficient in how we're using the processors and memory," Picciano said.
With this technology, a customer could set up a system that would analyze data as it comes off the wire, Picciano said. Typically, organizations may store their data in a data warehouse or, if data is collected in sufficient quantities, in a Hadoop cluster. Then they would use various BI tools to extract patterns and other intelligence from the data set. IBM proposes keeping the data in-memory and analyzing it on the fly, using the same BI tools. The in-memory approach can cut the query times by a thousand times, Picciano said.
"Queries that used to run in seven minutes on a well-known data warehouse systems can run in 8 milliseconds on our systems," Picciano claimed.IBM joins a number of companies that are pitching cloud computing as an ideal platform for large-scale data analysis. Google, for instance, offers its BigQuery service for crunching data online. VMware, along with parent company EMC, recently spun out a cloud service subsidiary, called Pivotal, that will focus on a providing data analysis services.
IBM also is offering to run copies of SAP HANA on its SmartCloud, where it can be used for data analysis. The company did not specify whether it will provide its own licenses for the services, or if customers should procure their own. One early customer of this service has been the department store Globus, which tracks sales for about 800,000 items on a SmartCloud instance of HANA.
Picciano did not disclose pricing information for the SmartCloud database service, stating that IBM works with each customer on a case-by-case basis.
Other cloud providers also made announcements this week. Google has cut the prices of its Google Cloud Datastore, a NoSQL data storage service, by up to 25 percent. Also, Microsoft announced that it is expanding its Azure cloud service to China, making it the first major cloud provider to do so, the company claimed.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Data governance software specialist Varonis announced the release of DatAnywhere, which extends the usability of corporate file-sharing infrastructure to enable traditional file servers and network-attached storage (NAS) devices to behave like a cloud-based service, such as Dropbox.
DatAnywhere, which is available for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Google Android clients, includes file synchronization with existing common Internet file system (CIFS) shares over Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), mobile device access, adherence with existing Directory Services and CIFS permissions, synchronization lists, multiple device profiles, extranet capability, and distributed scalability.
"Although enterprise file sync and mobile access is shaping up to be a very competitive market, Varonis’ background in data governance and protection solutions for enterprise collaboration gives them an edge. With Varonis DatAnywhere, organizations don’t have to modify their processes, infrastructure or permissions in order to give end users the functionalities they crave," Terri McClure, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said in a statement. "Access controls stay the same, data classification continues to function and data doesn't need to be moved to a new server. Interestingly, internal users can collaborate with mobile users without changing a thing. It’s a really unique approach."
No data needs to be moved from existing file shares or migrated to a proprietary repository, and users can collaborate with other users that still use the same traditional CIFS shares through mapped drives. DatAnywhere adheres to existing access controls, including Active Directory User/Group structure and file system access control lists (ACLs), and data protection and management capabilities stay in place.
Recent data protection research undertaken by Varonis found that 86 percent of employees describe themselves as heavy users of mobile devices – and only 15 percent say they don’t look at work-related messages or content after hours.
The same study showed that 80 percent of organizations say they do not allow their employees to use cloud-based file synchronization services, while 70 percent would allow use of these services if they were as robust as internal tools. However, fully one-fifth of companies said they have no measures in place to prevent staff from accessing file-synchronization tools.
"We are seeing tremendous customer demand for DatAnywhere, which has arrived at an opportune time for organizations that are experiencing the explosion of digital collaboration and the employee-propelled demand for mobile access, colliding with the necessity to protect their critical data," Varonis president, co-founder and CEO Yaki Faitelson said in a statement "This latest innovation from Varonis extends our portfolio of enterprise-tested solutions, and will certainly accelerate our growth as we approach the 2,000-customer milestone in our worldwide business."
Intel's upcoming family of Core processors, code-named Haswell, will offer 50 per cent more battery life in laptops than did their Ivy Bridge predecessors, according to the company.
Haswell chips were designed with laptops and tablets in mind, and the main focus was on lowering power consumption, said Rani Borkar, corporate vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, in a media briefing.
The longer battery life won't come with a cost to performance, according to Borkar. And in idle or standby mode the chips will do even better, extending battery life by up to 20 times, she said.
The improvements are vital for Intel and its PC-making partners. PC sales are in one of their worst slumps ever, with users snapping up tablets and smartphones instead for mobile computing. Any improvements Intel can offer will help keep the PC market alive.
Intel is expected to launch the new chips at the Computex trade show in Taipei next month. Haswell represents an update to Intel's instruction set architecture, which it delivers every two years.
Intel has been talking up Haswell's improvements for months. It says they'll also offer double the graphics performance for laptops and up to treble the performance for desktops.
The chips are intended partly to bridge the gap between laptops and tablets, by offering longer battery life and optional detachable touchscreens and keyboards. PC makers are expected to show what they've managed to achieve with Haswell in Taiwan, including hybrid devices with screens that detach or fold back to make a tablet.
Intel has geared some of the Haswell chips toward tablet use as well, by reducing the power consumption of some parts to as low as 7 watts. The previous low for some of the Ivy Bridge Core chips was 10 watts. A tablet with a Core processor will offer similar battery life to a non-Intel tablet but more performance than a "content consumption" device, Borkar said.
Haswell chips achieve their low power consumption partly from an on-chip power management unit, which provides a "bird's eye view" of energy consumption on the chip. It can dynamically adjust the power consumption in various parts of the chip to reduce the overall power draw.
Voltage regulators have been consolidated, another step to reduce power consumption that also allows smaller motherboards for Haswell chips, so they can be used in smaller devices. And Intel says a type of memory called embedded DRAM reduces the cost of building devices.
Faster interconnects on the chip also shave off some power use, according to Intel, because data is transferred more quickly, which means the processor cores can spend less time working.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Enterprise file sharing and synchronization specialist Egnyte announced its mobile data management suite, designed to offer enterprises control over corporate data through a variety of device and file management strategies.
The suite is designed to give enterprise IT departments the ability to allow employees to use their own notebooks and mobile devices in the work environment while enabling them to maintain tight control over corporate data and minimize costs. The launch comes as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives continue to gain traction, though data security and employee privacy issues present a challenge to IT departments.
A recent study from industry analyst firm Ovum found that more than half (57 percent) of all full-time employees use a personal device to access corporate data. However, almost 80 percent of BYOD activity is still going unmanaged in the workplace, suggesting a growing need for cost-effective mobile device management (MDM) solutions.
Egnyte's platform attempts to assuage these concerns through management features such as a device control panel that provides an integrated, central view of all end-user devices connected to a company's account. IT admins can view information about the user, device type, last time of access and other data, and can take corrective actions such as disconnecting or wiping a device from the control panel in the event the device is compromised. In addition, users can view their own devices, allowing for self-service when needed.
"Egnyte offers our customers the option of using Egnyte in conjunction with their MDM solution or using our new capabilities as a MDM-light solution," Vineet Jain, Egnyte's CEO, said in a statement. "With the native security and management capabilities, IT departments can reduce costs by getting everything they need in one place. More importantly, they can be confident their files and data are safe."
Other features include certificate-based device trust, which allows only notebooks, smartphones and tablets with a valid security certificate to access the company's file sharing service, preventing access from unauthorized devices, and local file encryption on smartphones and tablets, which is designed to prevent data from being accessed directly from the mobile file system by limiting access to authorized users deploying the Egnyte application.
The ability to remotely wipe files from the device control panel enables the initiation and verification of a remote wipe of all Egnyte file contents in cases where a device is lost or stolen. A two-step login verification enforces a second factor for login in addition to username and password verification. This two-step login can be enforced whether the user is logging in from a notebook, smartphone or tablet, a company release noted.
A recent Ponemon Institute study found that 70 percent of the more than 86,000 laptops lost in 2011 were not encrypted, and that the average cost of each unencrypted lost laptop to an organization was $56,165. Costs associated with a data breach represent 80 percent of the total cost of a lost notebook, compared with 2 percent for replacing just the computer. Encryption can reduce the cost of a lost notebook by more than $20,000, on average, the study found.
Advanced Micro Devices has opened the door to embrace Google's Android operating system, but said it would continue to focus on Windows with its upcoming tablet and laptop chips.
AMD on multiple occasions has said it had no interest in putting its chips in Android tablets and would focus exclusively on Windows 8. A change of heart could open up a wider market for tablets for the company.
For now, the company's focus remains on optimizing chips for usage on Windows laptops, desktops and tablets, said Kevin Lansing, director of the notebook product line at AMD's client business unit.
In an email, however, AMD spokesman Gary Silcott said OS adoption depends on device makers.
"Windows is it for right now. Nothing about our architecture precludes Android operation if AMD or a third party decided to pursue it," Silcott said.
The tablet market is currently ruled by Apple's iOS, followed by Android. Windows 8 adoption on tablets and smartphones has been weak. Android support could open up a potentially larger market for AMD, whose chips are used in just a handful of tablets. AMD to date has released two chips for Windows tablets over the past two years, both of which have failed.
AMD on Thursday also shared more details about its upcoming Temash tablet chips, and will be showing off devices with the latest processors at the Computex trade show early next month. AMD is competing against ARM, whose processors are used in most tablets, and Intel, which later this year will be releasing new chips code-named Bay Trail for tablets running Android and Intel.
ARM and Intel already support Android 4.2, while independent efforts are under way to bring Android to the handful of AMD tablets. AMD has signed an ARM license, and is building chips based on the architecture for servers.
Android is used in most low-cost tablets with small screens, which are gaining preference over the larger-screen devices. Intel is chasing the low-cost tablet market and has said Android tablets priced between $200 and $399 with Bay Trail could be available by the end of the year.
However, AMD has shown no interest in low-cost tablets, and with 64-bit support, the Temash chip for now is optimized for high-performance tablets and low-end laptops. It can offer a full Windows 8 tablet and desktop experience, which is an edge over competing chips that are optimized for specific tablet or PC usage. For example, Intel's current Clover Trail chip, designed for tablets, is 32-bit and may not run specific desktop applications that are 64-bit.
AMD's Lansing said its Temash chips hold an advantage in graphics, which are becoming more important with online video streaming and gaming. AMD's core strength is in graphics, and its chips have been adopted by Sony for PlayStation and by Microsoft for the next Xbox.
In a comparison list, AMD said Temash also has support for DirectX 11, Windows 7 and USB 3.0 ports, which are not offered on Intel's Clover Trail. However, that is expected to change with Bay Trail, which will support DirectX 11 and USB 3.0. The Bay Trail chip will be able to provide an equally capable desktop and tablet experience on Windows 8.
The Temash lineup includes two dual-core A4 chips and one quad-core A6 chip. Tablets running on the quad-core will deliver up to eight hours of battery life during Web browsing, and around five hours of battery life when watching 1080p high-definition video on YouTube.
The A4-1200 chip draws 3.9 watts of power, and the A4-1250 draws 9 watts of power. Both chips run at 1GHz and have 1MB of cache. The quad-core A6-1450 runs at a maximum clock speed of 1.4GHz, draws 8 watts of power, and has a Radeon HD 8250 graphics processor with a maximum clock speed of 400MHz.
AMD has already been working with various ARM processor vendors through the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation to unify multiple processing resources in servers, PCs and mobile devices. The organization's goal is to develop an open hardware interface specification so tasks can be offloaded to the appropriate hardware resource, which will bring portability of applications across architectures and devices.
Much-hacked social networking site Twitter has finally introduced two-factor authentication in a bid to cut down on the hijacking of accounts.
The move follows a string of hacks of high-profile accounts by groups such as the pro-government Syrian Electronic Army, which hijacked the Twitter news feed of Associated Press and broadcast a string of false tweets.
One of these tweets alleged that US President Obama had been injured in a bomb attack at the White House, instigating a brief but sharp dip in US stock prices. The BBC, the Guardian and the Financial Times have also been affected.
In response, Twitter has announced that it will soon offer two-factor authentication using mobile phone verification. Two-factor authentication involves an additional level of authentication on top of a password, typically either via something that ought to be in the possession of the legitimate account holder, such as a SecurID token or a passcode sent to their mobile phone.
"This release is built on top of Twitter via SMS, so we need to be able to send a text to your phone before you can enrol in login verification (which may not work with some cell phone providers). However, much of the server-side engineering work required to ship this feature has cleared the way for us to deliver more account security enhancements in the future," wrote Jim O'Leary, a member of the product security team, in the blog.
Two-factor authentication is offered as an option for a number of online email services, including Google's Gmail, Microsoft's Outlook, Ymail, Facebook, Apple iCloud and Dropbox.
A new variant of the Citadel financial malware is targeting users of the Payza online payment platform by launching local in-browser attacks to steal their credentials, according to researchers from security firm Trusteer.
Citadel is a Trojan program designed primarily to steal online banking credentials, but is also associated with the Reveton ransomware, which locks down computers and displays rogue alerts claiming to come from law enforcement agencies.
Like most banking Trojan programs, Citadel's hooks into the browser process can modify Web pages opened on infected computers in real time. These rogue local website modifications are known as Man-in-the-Browser (MitB) attacks and are harder for victims to spot than regular phishing attacks because the URLs displayed in the browser address bar are those of legitimate websites.
The new Citadel variant discovered by Trusteer researchers contains MitB code that alters the form fields users are asked to fill in on Payza's log-in page. More specifically, the code adds an additional PIN (personal identification number) field to the authentication form.
"The Payza transaction PIN is used every time a user wants to send funds, add funds, withdraw funds or make a payment," Trusteer researcher Etay Maor said Tuesday in a blog post. "By obtaining the victim's email, password and PIN number, a cybercriminal can take over the account and commit fraudulent transactions."
Payza is an online payment platform similar to PayPal, but with a strong focus on emerging markets. London-based MH Pillars, the company that owns Payza, claims that the service is available in 197 countries and has over 9 million users.
Payza was launched in May 2012 as a redesigned version of AlertPay, a Canadian online payment platform acquired by MH Pillars. The new Citadel variant contains code targeting both https://secure.payza.com/login and https://www.alertpay.com URLs.
There are several security concerns with the use of online financial services like Payza in developing countries, Maor said. These stem from the wide use of public computers in locations such as Internet cafes and the generally low level of online security awareness, he said.
"Together, these conditions can have serious implications," Maor said. "Public computers are typically at higher risk for malware infections and when used by an unsuspecting user, the chances of a successful fraudulent transfer are much higher."
Blue Coat Systems, a provider of Web traffic filtering and business assurance products and services, plans to buy security analytics specialist Solera Networks, which uses data mining techniques to classify network traffic and detect potential security threats.
The acquisition is expected to be finalized within the next 30 days, the two companies said Wednesday.
BlueCoat declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal. The company, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, and has over 15,000 customers worldwide, plans to use Solera's technology to add security analytics and forensic capabilities to its future offerings.
Blue Coat hopes that the combination of its own Web-based threat intelligence with Solera's "DeepSee" analytics platform will help customers more rapidly identify and respond to security incidents and data breaches.
The Solera DeepSee platform uses real-time deep packet inspection to identify suspicious network traffic that could indicate the presence of advanced persistent threats (APTs) and other zero-day -- previously unseen -- malware attacks.
DeepSee can detect hundreds of applications and protocols as well as metadata attributes from network sessions and provides a dashboard for real-time reporting, visualizing graphical representations of the captured data, receiving alerts and notifications, automating tasks, responding to incidents and more.
According to Blue Coat Systems CEO Greg Clark, the ability to efficiently mine a large dataset of network history in order to react and resolve security issues in real time is an essential component of the modern security architecture.
The contact centre industry has great potential to broaden its reach and appeal with the addition of mobile payment technologies and other customer engagement capabilities. Contact centre solutions provider Genesys has taken steps to add collections and mobile payment capabilities to its complete contact center complement.
The Daly City, Calif.-based Genesys recently signed a definitive agreement to acquire SoundBite Communications (News - Alert) for a price of $5 per share. SoundBite is a maker of cloud-based customer engagement technologies, including proactive collections, payment and mobile marketing applications. The acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both SoundBite and Genesys, and is pursuant to a cash tender offer followed by a second step merger, said the companies.
The acquisition of SoundBite follows Genesys’ recent acquisition of cloud interactive voice response (IVR) and self-service company Angel. With the addition of the two feature sets to Genesys’ existing product line, the company will be well-positioned to offer the best possible cloud-based sales, marketing and customer service solutions that will allow companies to acquire, service and grow their business by offering purpose-built applications that can be deployed quickly. Those users can be located in departments across the enterprise including marketing, accounts receivable and collections as well as the contact centre.
“Cloud solutions that quickly solve business challenges are in high demand, and offering these solutions is core to our mission," said Paul Segre (News - Alert), president and CEO of Genesys. "The acquisition of SoundBite will expand our portfolio to help our customers meet these challenges, and continues our rapid expansion into cloud solutions in both new and existing markets."
Jim Milton, president and CEO of SoundBite, said the acquisition offers a premium for stockholders and an “exciting new endeavor” for the company itself.
"We believe existing SoundBite customers will value the benefits of being part of the global Genesys community made up of the world's leading innovators in customer experience,” said Milton.
Salesforce .com CEO Marc Benioff built a technology company worth $27 billion on the back of a very simple slogan: "No Software."
Benioff's idea of selling business applications as a pay-as-you-go Internet service -- rather than shrink-wrapped bundles with hefty up-front fees -- helped Salesforce.com steal business from Microsoft , SAP and Oracle for nearly a decade.
Now the San Francisco-based company is hoping to find more growth in another big idea.
This week, Salesforce.com will release its quarterly results, and Wall Street is expecting revenue growth of 28%, to $888 million. For the full year, the company forecast a revenue target of almost $4 billion, a 27% annual rise.
To get there, the company is espousing a philosophy that could be called, "No Marketing," though that's not a phrase Benioff has used.
Like "No Software," it's a conceit, because Salesforce.com does sell software to corporate customers, just as those large businesses still market to their own consumers.
But it's an apt phrase, because just as the company changed how software is sold, it now wants to transform how Corporate America thinks about marketing.
As Benioff said about his customers in a February conference call, "In each and every case they are redefining how they connect their company with their customers."
The idea is to make a company so customer -focused that the traditional boundaries between advertising, marketing and customer service become obsolete.
However you describe it, investors have so far liked the sound of it.
Salesforce.com shares are up more than 30% in the past 12 months and have more than doubled during the last three years, far outpacing the gains of the broader market for tech stocks.
Salesforce.com's main focus has been selling products and tools that help businesses keep track of their customers, software known as customer relationship management , or CRM .
Large companies have embraced it, and Salesforce.com reported sales growth of 32% for its fiscal fourth-quarter, ended in January, and 35% for its last full fiscal year.
But as the use of social-media networks such as Twitter and Facebook have exploded, they've given businesses the chance to interact with customers on a much more personal level.
To take advantage of that opportunity, Benioff has moved aggressively to acquire new companies, spending a combined $1 billion to acquire Radian6 in 2011, and Buddy Media in 2012.
The Radian 6 technology can track social-media conversations whether they take place on the public Internet or on the company's own social platform for corporations, called Chatter, which was released in 2010 and now has 1 million developers writing applications for it.
With Buddy Media, Salesforce.com can manage advertising and marketing campaigns run across the biggest social-media networks, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Taken together, the new tools -- updated versions of which were integrated into Salesforce.com's Marketing Cloud product just last month -- help companies identify new customers before they've purchased something, and serve existing customers even before they ask for something.
For example, if Ford Motor knows that a consumer buys a red Mustang every five years, why spend money trying to market or advertise if the automaker can, instead, send a Facebook message that says, "When do you want us to deliver your new wheels?"
While the idea sounds simple, it requires companies to not only collect but give employees access to huge amounts of customer data online.
The strategy is thus built on top of a broader tech trend, known as "big data."
This time around, Salesforce.com's fiercest technology rivals may not be software giants, but a raft of nimble start-ups -- as well as Google, which acquired Buddy Media's chief rival, Wildfire, last summer.
Benioff acknowledged as much in February, when he described "this huge amount of work going on between (Silicon Valley) entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in this big data area, and I think that they've changed everything."
He also made clear that the company intends to acquire more companies to take advantage of the trend.
Those acquisitions are needed to boost growth, but charges associated with them have pushed the company into a net loss for two consecutive fiscal years.
Don't expect that to change.
"As long as we're investing for significant growth, you should expect operating cash flow to grow a bit more slowly than revenue," Salesforce CFO Graham Smith said in February.
How well the company can manage the growth and profitability of its new businesses will likely determine how long growth investors continue to say "yes" to Salesforce.com shares.
Cloud-storage service Dropbox announced Wednesday that its Dropbox for Business service now offers single sign-on (SSO) via the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) standard.
Effective immediately, any off-the-shelf or home grown identity management system that's compatible with SAML can be configured to automatically sign users into Dropbox.
"SSO lets users sign in just once to a central identity provider, like Active Directory, and securely gain access to all of their business apps," said Dropbox engineer Alex Allain in a blog post. "And because a company's existing trusted identity provider is in charge of the authentication process, admins don't have to worry about managing multiple applications."
Dropbox claims it's used in 2 million unique businesses, and 95% of the Fortune 500 companies. Tying cloud services like Dropbox into an enterprise Active Directory or LDAP server enables IT managers to centrally provision users; for example, they can give users access to specific services when they're hired, offer role-based access, and ensure that access gets immediately discontinued for employees who leave the company.
Centralized provisioning also lets businesses enforce password policies to ensure that users choose strong passwords, and lets them require access using two-factor authentication, adaptive authentication, or other multi-factor approaches.
To make it easier for businesses to use Dropbox SSO, the company has worked with multiple identity management companies, including Centrify, Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity and Symplified, to integrate their services with Dropbox.
Dropbox's approach to SSO, announced last month, is based on SAML, an XML-based standard for transmitting authentication and authorization information via the Internet that's designed to allow users to authenticate once, then access any SAML-compatible service, whether it's located on the premises or hosted in the cloud.
"By adopting this open standard, Dropbox is making life easier for end users while at the same time allowing IT to tightly control employee access to the application -- which is the biggest advantage of the SAML standard," said Thomas Pedersen, CEO of OneLogin, in a blog post. He said his company's related offering, OneLogin for Dropbox, is free, although adding additional applications and capabilities costs extra.
"When a company like Dropbox jumps on the SAML bandwagon, it becomes a significant validation that cloud application security and ease of use can be mutually reinforcing," Pedersen said. "IT departments and end users both win."