New UK startup SaasID has emerged from stealth mode with a browser plug-in that makes it possible for the first time to manage any web application without having to resort to a complex proxying setup.

Cloud Application Manager works from within any major browser to impose control over apps such as Salesforce, Google Docs and even Facebook, setting security parameters on their use that are tricky or impossible to impose at present.

Simplifying matters, the app also regulates single sign-on (SSO), which maintains security on a session basis – no credentials are stored on a PC despite the fact that only PCs running the plug-in can access the service.

Although the plug-in communicates with SaasID’s cloud data centre, browser traffic travels across the Internet as normal.

“IT professionals are under increasing pressure to support and secure personal computing devices used to access cloud-based applications. As a result, we’ve seen a raft of mobile device management security products coming to market,” said SaaSID CEO and founder, Ed Macnair, a figure who traces his startup lineage back to UK security company Marshal (which later turned into M86 Security).

“However, until now, we haven’t seen any solution that provides such granular management of features such as Chatter within Salesforce.com, or that can monitor or block printing of sensitive Google Apps documents, while providing a detailed record of all user activity.”

Organisations across the board would welcome such control, said Macnair, particularly banks using large numbers of difficult-to-manage financial web apps. Mainstream apps such as Facebook could also be made read only to reduce the risk of data leakage.

Despite being brand new, SaaSID has gained interest from major partners, headed by Salesforce itself. Other names in the frame include EMC and Fujitsu.

According to Macnair, the company is well funded and was filing patents in the US and the UK. The product had been in development for up to three years from its R&D centre in Bristol.