SaaS provider hooks frats to Facebook with help from SOA appliances

SaaS provider OmegaFi has found a way to provide simpler information management. Their system includes a SOA appliance that provides security and federation.

A Software as a Service (SaaS) provider specializing in financial and information services for Greek fraternal organizations has tapped into Facebook to provide its fraternity and sorority users with easier updates to information. At the same time, it has tapped into a rack-mounted SOA appliance to provide security and federation services.

OmegaFi is a SaaS specialist that offers a range of services tailored to the Greek crowd. OmegaFi was founded on chapter and alumni management tools but the portfolio has grown to include fundraising tools as well as information management services.

Forum Systems, a maker of security and identity management appliances for SOA systems, has been a part of OmegaFi's recent growth. According to OmegaFi CIO John Woolbright, Forum's Sentry XML gateway appliance has been instrumental. Woolbright said in a statement, "After collaborating with us to meet the requirements of a three-month proof-of-concept project, we selected Forum Systems as our provider of choice for security and federation."

The main thrust of the process was to bring single sign-on (SSO) functionality to OmegaFi's existing offerings. After multiple ad hoc integrations between OmegaFi's core Vault and Embark offerings and other third-party Web content providers, identity management had become overly complex. A single user could potentially log on multiple times from different sites with different usernames and passwords simultaneously. The resulting confusion created a user experience that was not always up to acceptable standards.

The SSO functionality that Forum Sentry provides is based on identity tokens. This token system is said to improve authentication and authorization for both portals and Web services. At the same time, Forum claims that Sentry enables OmegaFi to share member information across organizations without exposing users' private data to third parties. The end result, according to Forum, is a streamlined user experience on the front end and more secure federated identity management on the back end.

Securing and federating member information is an important part of OmegaFi's operation. Compass - a software package made for records management within the Greek system - integrates with Facebook as well as OmegaFi's core Vault offering to ensure that when members update their information, each chapter as well as the national (or international) headquarters has access to the most up-to date information from a single record kept with Compass. In addition, address standardization from Google Maps helps keep their records clear, accurate, and organized.

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