Centrify Unifies User Sign-On Control Across Multiple Platforms, Devices

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2012-09-06 Print this article Print

Multiple devices are the norm for today's knowledge worker, creating excessive burdens for network managers trying to keep information secure, yet still accessible. Centrify's centralized user management helps to tame the new security paradigm created by multi-device user-access scenarios.

Centrify Suite 2012 Enterprise Edition tames user-access problems by centralizing user-account management across multiple platforms and devices.

The product, which began shipping July 25, offers a single-pane-of-glass view for user accounts and automatically synchronizes user-account metadata and credentials across multiple security schemas. This allows users to enter the same credentials across multiple networks and operating systems, while supporting multiple endpoints, ranging from Windows clients to Linux desktops to OS_X- (Mac-) based devices.

Priced at $825 per server and $65 per workstation, costs can quickly add up on enterprise networks; however, a decent return on investment is all but guaranteed, thanks to the time the product saves network administrators, reductions in help desk calls and the secure integration of multiple endpoints into an enterprise.

What's more, the product includes extensive auditing features, as well as reporting and control features that enable administrators to meet compliance requirements and plug account-security holes before the network is affected. Auditing also provides forensics capabilities, assisting in determining if data leakage has occurred, while supporting investigative chores.

The Enterprise Edition of Centrify Suite is actually a mash-up of several Centrify products. Included in the suite are DirectManage, DirectControl, DirectAuthorize and DirectAudit. The DirectManage product integrates Unix, Mac and Linux systems into Microsoft's Active Directory, allowing for centralized management of user accounts, entitlements and security policies.

DirectControl brings support for Active Directory authentication, Windows Group Policies and single sign-on to Linux, Unix and MAC systems. Direct Authorize further strengthens security by bringing role-based privilege management to Unix and Linux systems, further centralizing the security of multiple platforms across heterogeneous networks. DirectAudit adds real-time auditing of Windows, Unix and Linux systems to the mix.

The company also offers suites that have fewer products, as well as more. However, the Enterprise Edition is the most popular suite that the company offers and contains the features needed by the majority of enterprises supporting heterogeneous networks.

For testing, I set up a Windows Server 2008 R2 as the primary network server, with Active Directory. I then added a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 server and an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Linux Server. For client systems, I added a MacBook, Ubuntu System and a Windows 7 system to the mix.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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