Bloggers: Gerry Gebel and Bob Blakley
Today, Ping Identity announced it is acquiring Sxip Access, the portion of Sxip Identity that provided identity management for software-as-a-service applications. Sxip Identity will still exist and focus its energies on Sxipper and other Identity 2.0/Web 2.0 technologies.
This appears to be a good strategy for both parties. Sxip is free to focus solely on the realm of user centric identity technology and approaches. Ping is able to immediately add support for SaaS applications to its federation portfolio, bolstering is ability to address the growing needs of organizations with distributed applications and a dispersed workforce.
Of course, adoption of SaaS applications is on a strong growth trend across the industry so there are many vendors seeking to enter this market and provide potential solutions. For example, TriCipher just announced their myOneLogin hosted authentication service that supports SAML and a number of other authentication mechanisms, Conformity is developing security, audit, and identity solutions for SaaS applications, and Symplified is working on identity on demand offerings for SaaS (Symplified and Conformity offerings are at the beta testing stage). It turns out, of course, that federation protocols don’t address some single sign-on scenarios if your workforce doesn’t adhere to the preferred confines of the SAML protocol. While technically feasible, it is can be difficult, in reality, to accommodate workforce members authenticating from on premises, from partner locations, or while traveling.
It appears also, that SaaS vendors have gotten more serious about authentication security as a result of recent published attacks against SalesForce.com. In summary, the acquisition, recent product offerings, and multiple startups suggest a segmentation for SaaS applications. First, there is a server side SaaS federation market and second, a client side consumer authentication as a service market. Both segments are good developments and necessary for the industry. Indeed, both segments are likely to grow over time.