Centrify for Mobile, SaaS for 2013 Takes Control of BYOD Management

REVIEW: Centrify aims to ease administrative burdens by bringing policy-based control to a multitude of mobile devices and the applications they run.

Centrify is taking on the task of mobile device management with two products that work together, Centrify for Mobile 2013 and BYOA (Bring Your Own Application) with Centrify for SaaS 2013.

With these products Centrify brings unified identity management to networks that are supporting multiple mobile devices and applications while providing administrators with a single pane of glass to view the managed devices.

The intuitive interface offered by Centrify in these products solves one of the biggest problems facing administrators today: managing multiple devices that are used by different individuals and that may run different operating systems and applications. This is a chore that gets more complicated once mobile users and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives are added to the mix.

Taking control of devices for security purposes and to provision or de-provision applications is one of the most important jobs in IT. Nowhere is that more important than with the BYOD initiative that is sweeping across many enterprises, where contrary to traditional IT policies, users are encouraged to use personally owned devices to access corporate resources and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to do their jobs.

While promising enhanced productivity and end-user flexibility, BYOD brings a multitude of challenges to IT administrators, ranging from security concerns to managing application deployments to enforcing appropriate use policies. However, these are far from easy tasks that are further complicated by the fact that organizations increasingly don't own the device or the SaaS applications they use every day.

Nevertheless, it all comes down to identity—properly identifying the device, the user, their role in the organization—while providing secure access to network and approved applications. Centrify has its roots in identity management, giving it a head start in the world of mobile device management and mobile application management.

A closer Look at Centrify for Mobile and SaaS 2013:

When I last looked at what Centrify had to offer, the company was just starting to support BYOD and mobile devices with an identity-based paradigm. Since then, Centrify has added a multitude of features that moves the product squarely into the mobile security spectrum—creating a management product that handles identity, as well as provisioning, and all other aspects of mobile device management in a single product.

The benefits of integrating complete device management with identity management and application management are numerous, ranging from providing a single pane of glass view to offering an integrated end-user portal—whether the user is on a PC or their mobile device—making life easier for both end users and administrators.

Centrify Unified Identity Services accomplishes that by unifying security across multiple platforms, including cloud services, devices, directories, Web applications and so on. The idea here is to provide a single sign-on capability to end users, while providing a single management interface for administrators.

The real question is "Does Centrify deliver?" The short answer is yes; the long answer takes a deeper dive into the technology. I tested Centrify for Mobile 2013 and Centrify for SaaS 2013 with a number of devices and applications and found that for the most part the cloud-based service was easy to deploy, use and manage—thanks to intuitive administration screens and several configuration wizards that take the guess work out of setup.