As handy as online applications are, they bring their own set of annoyances—one of which is the tedious task of managing multiple logons and URLs, if you’re using more than one vendor’s applications. Major vendors of online application suites, such as Adobe and Microsoft, offer webtops—GUI workspaces that provide a single front end for users to access web applications—but they typically work with only the vendor’s online apps. On Monday, Symantec announced a beta version of its own webtop workspace, called Symantec GoEverywhere, which addresses the problem of managing multiple vendors’ online apps by providing a secure single sign-on (SSO) and an application-agnostic environment that lets you put any web app in your workspace and access it from any device that supports a browser.

Benefits: Secure Single Sign-On, Workspace Groupings
The product’s main areas of benefit, said Don Kleinschnitz, vice president and general manager, Symantec GoEverywhere, include a “secure access mechanism” that lets you use one username and password to access the GoEverywhere workspace and all the applications you’ve set up in it; the ability to group related applications and files into areas that you designate; and the ability to access multiple online storage accounts in one location. “We provide the security and storage, but you choose the applications.” As a result of these features, said Kleinschnitz, “Most of the maintenance \[of online application accounts\] the user would have to do is pretty much gone. All the user has to do is log in.”

Kleinschnitz and Laurie Probst, senior director, GoEverywhere marketing, said that the webtop is geared toward a spectrum of customers, from individual users to small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) to enterprises. However, they expect that SMBs will gravitate toward the product first, because they typically have less of an IT infrastructure than larger organizations and are probably already making the move to cloud computing. “We think SMBs will be the early adopters; for them, it’s an easier shift,” said Probst.

The product lets you customize your workspace into various areas—for example, placing applications that you want to share with others in a workgroup in the My Open Place area while including applications for your own use in the private My Safe Place area. Kleinschnitz said that eventually GoEverywhere will let customers add policies to limit users’ access to certain applications.

Application-Agnostic Strategy
In a world quickly filling up with online platforms, Symantec’s strategy with GoEverywhere is to work with all of them. “The more people who provide applications on the web, the better for us,” said Kleinschnitz. Working with Microsoft Online Services, for example, is “a simple matter of putting a link \[to those applications\] in the workspace.”

GoEverywhere is a product of Symantec’s business incubator team, which is responsible for identifying new business opportunities and developing product innovations, Kleinschnitz said. As part of the beta process, Symantec is upgrading the product every four days or so, based on direct feedback from about 2,000 users who are currently trying out the beta. Kleinschnitz and Probst said that Symantec hasn’t set a formal release date for GoEverywhere, but that the company would release the product when it was ready. For more information about Symantec GoEverywhere and to sign up for the beta program, go to http://www.goeverywhere.com/.

 

Symantec GoEverywhere Beta My Safe Place area