By Gregg Larson, CEO, Clareity Security (www.ClareitySecurity.com)
New technologies are constantly being developed to make life easier, and to aid you in being more efficient and effective as a real estate professional. One technology that accomplishes this is Single Sign On (SSO).
By definition Single Sign On technology is a single identity and authentication that is shared in a single website or across multiple website to provide user access to various applications. When SSO is integrated with real estate software, real estate professionals no longer have to login to each application they use. They will be able to seamlessly move from one application to another. For instance, a Realtor could login to his broker’s intranet, and then by selecting a link it would log him into the MLS or another integrated vendor such as transaction management or online forms. There is no need to have multiple user names and passwords to remember!
Although, SSO technology has been around since 1990, the standards have not been broadly adopted because they were either owned or controlled by a single vendor or organization. This has made cross-vendor cooperation difficult. In the past year the Center for REALTOR® Technology (CRT) at the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) co-funded a project with Clareity Security to bring free non-proprietary Single Sign On to the real estate industry. A software toolkit to facilitate open standards based Single Sign-On (SSO) was developed by Clareity Security, and will be freely distributed by the CRT and NAR. This free open standard reference implementation can be used by real estate software vendors, brokers, and MLSs to incorporate SSO into their products for the benefit of REALTORS everywhere.
The free software toolkit allows software vendors to cooperate efficiently and maintain security using the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 standard. SAML enables secure exchange of authentication, and authorization information between disparate security domains, making secure Internet e-business transactions possible. With this standard a user’s information is stored on one server when they login and are authenticated. As the user moves to other integrated applications he does not have to authenticate himself again. This is not only more convenient for the user, but much more secure. InternetCrusade and Point2 recently achieved SSO by using the open SAML standard, and their resounding success demonstrates how well open standards can work without use of proprietary products.
For the user there is nothing to download. All the integration is done by the vendors. The only item for a user is to encourage their vendors to utilize the CRT SSO toolkit & integrate with each other. The major MLS and real estate software providers have already agreed to utilize this standard so you will be seeing it offered in many products soon!