Dell pitches identity & access management as answer to business complexity

LAS VEGAS – When users, partners and IT managers think of Dell and security, the SonicWall firewall product likely comes to mind. But the vendor is building a security portfolio that integrates all its solutions from data centre to endpoint, and identity and access management will be at the heart of it.

In an interview with on the eve of Dell’s annual Peak Performance security conference, which has doubled in size this year, Dell executives said they see a greenfield opportunity around identity and access management (I&AM) and it’s an opportunity they plan to pounce on.

Bill Evans, senior director of product marketing at Dell Software, came to the vendor through its acquisition of Quest Software. That acquisition helped form the base for Dell’s I&AM portfolio, which Evans said includes three broad areas: governance, privilege management and access management.

“We’re bringing all these technologies together: privileged accounts now integrate with the firewall, and two-factor authentication integrates with SonicWall,” said Evans. “We’re starting to roll out these integration points.”

An example of the sort of solutions the integration of Dell’s security portfolio can allow centres around the Dell Security Analytics Engine, which does risk scoring in real time when a user requests access to the corporate network. It notes if you’re logging in from a corporate or non-corporate network, whether you’re using a corporate-approved device, where you’re located, the time of day and more. A risk score is sent to Dell Cloud Access Manager, which can make a real-time authentication decision.

“So if I’m logging in Sunday from Las Vegas, it may decide that I have the right user name and password so we’ll implement setup authentication and ask me for a one-time token,” said Evans. “But if I’m logging in from 1:00 AM from North Korea, it may lock me out.”

The solution uses Dell One Identity Cloud Access Manager, geo location information from SonicWall, Dell Defender for authentication, and a readily available blacklist – Dell SecureWorks have that integrated. Lockout is a policy decision; administrators set the policies and what happens based on the risk score.

While security is often seen as a priority for the IT department and something to be tolerated by business users, Dell is pitching its I&AM portfolio as a tool for business enablement tool.

“When users are burdened with onerous security hurdles they’ll find a way around it. The ability for this technology to give IT the ability to turn the security knobs up and down in real time is the real benefit,” said Evans. “If a customer can just use their user name and password nine times out of 10, the one-time 10 they need to use a one-time token they’ll understand. I&AM is a discipline fueled not just by security, but business efficiency and productivity.”

Dell sees a real greenfield opportunity around identity management said Timothy G. Brown, a Dell fellow and executive director for security in the Dell Software group. It took Dell by surprise, but he said the customer lists of the major players in the space, such as IBM, Oracle and CA, don’t extend much below the Fortune 1000. Brown said even many state governments don’t have identity management solutions in place.

“Privilege management should reach the point of being good security hygiene. You should never give anyone access to your root or your Oracle admin. It’s bad for them and bad for the company,” said Brown “We’re seeing a lot more instances of targeted phishing attacks against individuals with this access, and these are the worst attacks in terms of financial loss and damage to the company. And they’re becoming more common.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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