When purchasing a software application, property owners want to ensure that their workforces are going to use it regularly to guarantee a return on their investment.
It may seem simple, but in any organization’s quest for maximum application utilization, it’s good to begin at the beginning – by addressing all the ways an organization’s users might want to access an app, then making it as easy as possible.
We are all familiar with the process of being directed to an application and given a temporary username and password to set up our accounts. Afterwards, there are links and directions to help us if we forgot our newly-created login information, and hopefully some well-crafted and easy-to-find documentation to help us if we get stuck. (Many times, that is best served by a simple phone number where we can call and get help from a live person!)
The need for simplicity and thought applied to the fundamental concept of access has become more complicated, however, due to factors such as the extension of web applications to mobile devices, and integrations of multiple applications into various types of customer portals. As a result, security has become a major issue. In fact, it has driven requirements for connections to an organization’s Active Directory, which allows activation and deactivation of users’ access to applications. The most standard way to manage active users is called Security Assertion Markup Language (or, SAML) and it allows for secure exchange of user authentication between the customers approved application portal and their authorized users. For example, you login once into the portal and have access to your applications without having to login again.
Security measures are also in the spotlight due to another trend: social logins. We see more and more applications in our consumer lives utilizing our social profile IDs to try and simplify the login process. Instead of creating a new username/password and entering all your information, you can just use an existing Facebook or LinkedIn profile to login. The concern with this approach is clearly the risk that comes with sharing access to information across platforms.
Nancy Goring does a very nice job explain the trends and concerns with using our Social ID’s to log into work applications in her December 2013 article here in Citeworld. The point she makes is clear and valid – there are still significant security hurdles to overcome before the enterprise will develop the policies and systems to allow social logins, but it is only a matter of time before it happens because just like bring your own device (BYOD), employees and their users will demand it.
So when evaluating property management software providers, you want to make sure that a) the application is available via both web and mobile (and on all devices!), and b) that the company is up-to-date with security compliances.
Here at Building Engines, we implemented SAML Single Sign-On last year, allowing our clients to log into their existing corporate system and have simultaneous access to the Building Engines platform authenticated behind the scenes. In addition, we launched our BE-Mobile App, which empowers property and facility teams to stay connected to critical building information at all times and manage and respond to tasks remotely – from any device.
To learn more about Building Engines’ Property Management software and how easy it is to get started, click here.