Sprint Adds Single Sign-On Option to Its Google Apps Packages

Sprint enterprise customers who also buy Google Apps for Business can now add single sign-on capabilities from Ping Identity to add deeper security for mobile employees.

Sprint and Google Apps for Business

Sprint is deepening its Google Apps for Business offerings for enterprise customers by adding new fee-based single sign-on capabilities for mobile workers under a partnership with Ping Identity.

The new single sign-on enhancements were unveiled by Sprint in an announcement on Oct. 13.

For businesses, the Ping Identity services, which will be available for employees at additional cost beyond the $5 per month per employee cost of Google Apps for Business, will provide cloud-based single sign-on capabilities for easier identity management for corporate IT departments, according to Sprint.

The extra cost of the Ping services will depend on the number of employees enrolled and other factors, the company said. The single sign-on will allow users to sign on to all of their business apps with just one username and password while meeting corporate access and security requirements.

The new add-on is PingOne, which Ping offers as an identity as-a-service (IDaaS) product that delivers secure access for employees on any device and gives IT one dashboard to manage user access for all applications, according to Sprint. PingOne eliminates the need for employees to manage multiple passwords across various business applications.

Sprint introduced subscriptions to Google Apps for Business in July, offering several premiums for customers who buy the services through Sprint directly rather than through Google, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The addition of the Google Apps for Business tools makes it easier for employees to be able to work from anywhere, while lessening the burdens on IT for small and midsize companies.

Customers who sign up for Google Apps for Business through Sprint are assigned a Sprint consultant to help with deployment information, while full deployment packages are also available for a fee. End user support is also included 24/7.

Subscribers through Sprint also get the use of the Boost eLearning platform, which includes more than 400 apps for user-led learning and training, whether they want to learn a new skill or brush up.

Sprint's backing of Google Apps for Business is carrier-agnostic; Sprint can deploy the Google apps across a business, regardless of whether or not all the devices are on the Sprint network.

Customers who do purchase Sprint devices and Google Apps for Business will also receive device set-up free from Sprint.

Google, meanwhile, is always making improvements to its Google Apps services.

In May, Google Apps received several new mobile management tools to help enterprises better manage the Android devices and capabilities of their BYOD users. The updates to the Google Apps Mobile Management for Android tools provide more ways that IT administrators can protect enterprise systems, devices, employees and corporate data.

Included in the new features was an inactive account wipe capability that will allow enterprises to set user policies that will wipe an inactive account from a device if it has not been synced for a predetermined number of days. The inactive account wipe capability protects enterprises if a device is lost so that it does not cause a security risk.

Also included was new support for EAP-based WiFi networks, so that IT administrators can configure settings and distribute certificate authority- (CA-) based certs for EAP, or Extensible Authentication Protocol, networks. Compromised device detection has also been added so that IT administrators can set policies that will detect signals for common forms of a compromised device, including "rooting" or the installation of a custom "ROM," so that modified devices can be blocked for security reasons.

New reporting fields have also been added in the API and Admin console so that IT administrators can better understand the devices that are in use and troubleshoot issues. The added fields include serial number, IMEI, MEID, WiFi MAC address, baseband version, kernel version, build number, mobile operator/carrier, language settings and account ownership/management.