J.P. Morgan & Co. has bought software for its networked computer system that is designed to make access to its internal banking applications and data bases more efficient and secure.

San Francisco-based Open Horizon Inc. will install its Connection software in phases throughout the New York-based bank's domestic and global operations, said executives at the company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The bank is converting its mainframe-based computer system to an open network of workstations linked by servers, an arrangement known as distributed computing.

The Connection software will link personal computer users - both bank employees and customers - to data bases and applications using a single security password.

Executives at Open Horizon said the single password will make communications across the bank more efficient and will centralize control of security by averting the need for one person to have multiple passwords to gain access to different data bases.

Bank executives said in a statement that distributed computing would reduce costs and speed the development of banking applications.

"Tools that (reduce) application development time to market, promote leverage of solutions across business units, and contribute to a technology infrastructure are extremely valuable," said Michael Azarian, head of technology infrastructure products and services at the bank.

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