Analysts Question Whether Securent

 
 
By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2007-11-02 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Ideal for Cisco"> For Forrester Research analyst Andras Cser, the success of the acquisition will come down to two key issues: whether policy decisions can be moved effectively and securely to the ubiquitous network layer; and two, whether Cisco can rely on success stories at the customer base of Securent to expand entitlement management into traditional Cisco accounts regardless of a future Cisco identity access management product suite offering.

"Moving policy decisions to the network layer will be an arduous process which requires Ciscos adding value in areas close to application design development and identity management," Cser said. "This is where they need to build a broader offering and/or partnerships which will take time and effort."

Still, the move will undoubtedly trigger a response from Securents competitors, first in terms of market messaging related to independence and focus on application developer needs, to play up the perceived, eventual loss of both within Cisco, Perkins said.

Vadim Lander, chief identity architect for CA, one of Securents major competitors in the space, said his companys strategy differs from Securents approach.

"Our strategy is called enterprise policy management, which is about managing and enforcing not just access policies...but also thinking about managing, enforcing authentication, access, identity and audit policies across a wide range of IT resources," he said.

Overall, Cisco has to demonstrate that it understands the market and is committed to providing good tools and support for the application development community, Schacter added.

"Right now my advice to enterprise customers is to move cautiously and give Cisco and its new Securent team a chance to articulate a strategy and commitment to the market," he said. "In the meantime, proceed with projects that are based on the XACML standard as one way to minimize costs if it becomes necessary to switch to an alternate provider in the future."

Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEKs Security Watch blog.

Cisco Systems is making a major play for the access policy management market with the acquisition of Securent, but several analysts are questioning whether the merger will result in acrimony or marital bliss. The acquisition, valued at about $100 million, gives Cisco the capability to allow customers to audit and enforce access policies to applications, data and infrastructure from the network as enterprises shift to SOAs (service-oriented architectures) and adopt technologies such as Unified Communications. But to Gartner analyst Earl Perkins, unified communications is something of a strange area for Securent to reside in. "It represents a good catch for Cisco, but the question is do they know what to do with it?" Perkins asked rhetorically. "Securent would have had more credibility in the hands of an application development-centric owner such as Oracle, IBM, or even Microsoft or HP. With Cisco and its networking heritage, this is going to be a challenging marriage." When acquisition details are complete sometime in the second quarter of Cisco's fiscal 2008, Securent, based in Mountain View, Calif., will become a part of Cisco's Collaboration Software Group. Click here to read more about Cisco's Securent acquisition. The placing of Securent in the Collaboration Software Group surprised Burton Group analyst Phil Schacter, who noted in a blog post Cisco's Security Technology Group includes its NAC (network access control), VPN, and network authentication product lines, which already integrate with identity infrastructure. Cisco will have to walk a tightrope as it balances the integration of Securent into the Collaboration Software Group and maintain its service-oriented-network-architecture vision of policy as a common network service, he wrote. "Cisco appears focused initially on leveraging this shared policy infrastructure across its unified communications and collaboration offerings," Schacter said in an interview with eWEEK. "It's uncertain that application developers will choose to rely on Cisco-provided policy infrastructure rather than looking to strategic application infrastructure providers, such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, BEA and SAP…so (the success of the acquisition is) a question of market execution and finding the right channel to represent this functionality to ISVs and application groups building SOA into their next generation applications." Page 2: Analysts Question Whether Securent Ideal for Cisco

For Forrester Research analyst Andras Cser, the success of the acquisition will come down to two key issues: whether policy decisions can be moved effectively and securely to the ubiquitous network layer; and two, whether Cisco can rely on success stories at the customer base of Securent to expand entitlement management into traditional Cisco accounts regardless of a future Cisco identity access management product suite offering. "Moving policy decisions to the network layer will be an arduous process which requires Cisco's adding value in areas close to application design development and identity management," Cser said. "This is where they need to build a broader offering and/or partnerships which will take time and effort." Still, the move will undoubtedly trigger a response from Securent's competitors, first in terms of market messaging related to independence and focus on application developer needs, to play up the perceived, eventual loss of both within Cisco, Perkins said. Vadim Lander, chief identity architect for CA, one of Securent's major competitors in the space, said his company's strategy differs from Securent's approach. "Our strategy is called enterprise policy management, which is about managing and enforcing not just access policies…but also thinking about managing, enforcing authentication, access, identity and audit policies across a wide range of IT resources," he said. Overall, Cisco has to demonstrate that it understands the market and is committed to providing good tools and support for the application development community, Schacter added. "Right now my advice to enterprise customers is to move cautiously and give Cisco and its new Securent team a chance to articulate a strategy and commitment to the market," he said. "In the meantime, proceed with projects that are based on the XACML standard as one way to minimize costs if it becomes necessary to switch to an alternate provider in the future." Check out eWEEK.com's Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK's Security Watch blog.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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