Dell Enhances Cloud Access Manager With More Security Features

Adaptive risk-based security lands in Dell's access management single-sign-on platform.


Dell today released Cloud Access Manager 8.0, providing a new security analytics engine that leverages an integrated threat data feed from Dell Secureworks. Cloud Access Manager is a rebranded product line from Dell that had previously been known as Webthority.

Cloud Access Manager provides single-sign-on (SSO), Web access and centralized authentication capabilities, which are now being enhanced in the 8.0 release with the inclusion of the new Dell security analytics engine. Jackson Shaw, senior director of Product Management, Identity and Access Management at Dell, explained that the security analytics engine is new technology that can be embedded into any Dell product. The Cloud Access Manager 8.0 release is the first Dell product to include the security analytics engine.

"The security analytics engine allows you determine what things you want to test for," Shaw said. "The system produces a risk score that is communicated back to Cloud Access Manager."

The general goal of the new security capabilities in Cloud Access Manager is to enable what Shaw referred to as adaptive risk-based security. For example, the system can be configured to determine when a user normally logs in and from which location. If the user logs in at a different time of day from a different location, that change in user behavior could be an indicator of risk. Within Cloud Access Manager, based on the risk score generated from the security analytics engine, an administrator can set up additional user authentication challenges such as using a onetime password that is sent via SMS to the user's phone.

Adding further security intelligence visibility to Cloud Access Manager is an integrated threat data feed from the Dell Secureworks security group. The threat data can help identify potentially malicious addresses that are added to a blacklist.

Though "cloud" is in the product name, Dell offers Cloud Access Manager 8.0 as an on-premises platform.

"It deploys on any domain joined by Windows server," Shaw said. "It can be deployed in a virtual machine, and it can be deployed as a cloud instance."

As to why Dell has branded Cloud Access Manager with the word "cloud" in its name, Shaw said that most enterprise customers are interested in how to access the cloud securely.

"It is an on-premises solution, it can be virtualized, but we ourselves are not delivering it as a service in the cloud," he said.

Cloud service authentication in Cloud Access Manager 8.0 is delivered via SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) as well as the WS-Federation standards. Additionally, Shaw said that for those cloud services that don't support SAML or WS-Federation, Cloud Access Manager can also enable access via a form fill capability.

"A user can enter a user ID and password for a cloud service, and Cloud Access Manager will store that information in a cryptographically secure wallet," he said. "The next time the user visits that same cloud service, the wallet is opened and the user ID and password is replayed."

Dell typically does two minor releases of Cloud Access Manager per year, with major updates coming every 12 to 14 months, according to Shaw. "So 8.0 is coming out now, and we'll have an 8.1 update in the July time frame. I suspect we'll see an 8.2 toward the end of the year, and then next year we'll have another major release," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.