Symantec has announced the general availability of its O3 cloud-based identity and access protection platform.

According to the company, this will offer a single, secure access point to cloud applications and services and provide three layers of protection for the cloud: access control; information security; and information management.

Symantec said O3 enables single sign-on across any web application and leverages an enterprise's existing identity infrastructure for authentication, while enabling context-based authorisation, password management and federation services.

It is also pre-integrated with Symantec Validation and ID Protection Service (VIP), enabling enterprises to use their existing VPN credentials to strengthen access to any cloud application. Symantec has also formed a partnership with salesforce.com, where O3 will be used to create a single sign-on, access management and strong authentication application for Force.com, salesforce.com's social enterprise platform.

Francis deSouza, group president of enterprise products and services at Symantec, said: “Companies want their employees to be able to take advantage of cloud services, but they also want to be confident that their critical information is protected as it flows in and out of the cloud.

“Symantec O3 is the answer. By enabling companies to achieve consistent identity and information protection across all cloud services and devices, O3 will deliver that confidence and enable a more rapid adoption of cloud services in businesses around the world.”

The next phase will see Symantec leverage its data-loss-prevention and PGP encryption technologies to automatically detect, block and encrypt confidential information before it is stored or shared in the cloud.

The third layer of Symantec O3 is scheduled to enable information management and compliance by aggregating all cloud-related security events, providing the foundation for comprehensive cloud auditing, forensics and compliance.