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Oblix hones Web functions of security software

The security software start-up will unveil improved software Monday for letting large corporations control access to Web sites, files and other computing resources.

Security software start-up Oblix will unveil improved software Monday for letting large corporations control access to Web sites, files and other computing resources.

The new software, called NetPoint, is designed to ease security and authorization headaches for large companies that must worry about many users tapping into corporate networks. While Oblix sells similar software now, NetPoint is designed to be used chiefly within corporate networks, while the new version is designed to govern the access of outside users as well, said Shelley Wilson, vice president of marketing.

Oblix, a 150-person firm in Cupertino, Calif., is run by chief executive Gordon Eubanks, former CEO of antivirus and security software company Symantec. It competes with companies such as Encommerce or Netegrity, though Oblix argues that its product set is more complete.

The company's main audience is corporations setting up business-to-business operations, though Wall Street's enthusiasm for the "B2B" buzzword has diminished. Oblix, however, is taking a traditional approach to making money by selling boxed software.

The company will charge $50 per user of the software, with prices discounted for larger-volume users, or negotiate a fee for a site license allowing unlimited users, said Nand Mulchandani, co-founder and vice president of product marketing.

NetPoint comes with features that allow companies to manage the identities and permissions of various users or groups of users, to delegate such management to others, and to authenticate users as they log in and keep a record of what they do, the company said.

Oblix's software relies on the comparatively new "directory" software that's becoming more widely available. Directory software keeps track of details of a multitude of computer users such as what sorts of computers they have or what servers they have permission to access.

Oblix software is most commonly used with directory software from iPlanet, the software sales arm of Sun Microsystems and AOL that sells Sun and Netscape software, Mulchandani said. The company also supports directory services from Microsoft and Novell. Netpoint runs on Sun Solaris, Windows NT and Windows 2000.

Among Oblix's 50 current customers are Ford Motor Company, Charles Schwab, Kinko's and Worldcom.