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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Netegrity Inc is offering users an alternative route into its flagship SiteMinder web access control platform, with a secure proxy server that does away with the system's reliance on cookies for session management and user identification. Although cookies are pretty much widely accepted, some thin-client and mobile devices do not accept them, and some organizations actually mandate against their use over concerns about security.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Netegrity sells tools and services around a policy-driven authorization platform that enables a company to define authentication schemes, control privileges and authorize access to enterprise applications. Its SiteMinder suite is, in many respects, a logical extension of the sign-on principle in that it extends security policies through cookies or web agents, to control access to applications, data and other resources residing on corporate intranets or extranets.

The new SiteMinder Secure Proxy Server offers some inherent flexibility in the management of IP infrastructures by centralizing all web resource access requests through the proxy instead of handling them individually on back-end servers. It effectively puts a well hidden "front door" between back-end enterprise web servers and authorized users accessing applications either from network-attached or wireless devices.

There is some inherent flexibility in the use of a proxy gateway when building access control and authorization routines as it makes it easy to handle incoming user requests no matter what type of device the user enters the site from. The proxy server will direct access requests to the appropriate web server, based not only on a URL, but also according to the access device type.

The extra layer of authentication possible through SiteMinder over standard web server login features provides a simple means of personalizing message content. Many applications forego personalization because the authentication is too basic, or they have to perform complicated database checks to establish better authentication.

Netegrity's new MobileMinder service offered by the company's professional services arm will help organizations build features such as single sign-on, self-registration, and password services into access routines for users of WAP or i-mode phones, and various PDA devices.

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