IBM Buys Lighthouse Security Group for Cloud-Based Identity Management

IBM's acquisition of Lighthouse Security Group bolsters Big Blue's position in cloud security services with new identity protection capabilities.

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IBM has added to its security portfolio with its Aug. 11 acquisition of the business operations of Lighthouse Security Group, a cloud security services provider.

Lighthouse Security Group's Gateway platform protects identity and data in a world where more company information is being stored in the cloud and accessed from mobile devices. The company is a subsidiary of Lighthouse Computer Services, a long-time IBM business partner. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IBM's purchase of Lighthouse Security Group follows Big Blue's recent acquisition of security software provider CrossIdeas by less than two weeks. CrossIdeas' technology governs user access to applications and data across on-premise and cloud environments. CrossIdeas combines business-driven governance and analytics capabilities to give customers greater control for securing enterprises.

By integrating the businesses of Lighthouse Security Group and CrossIdeas with IBM's identity and access management offering, IBM will offer a full suite of security software and services that protect and manage a user's identity, the company said.

"Our ability to match the power and capabilities of traditional enterprise offerings through a cloud-based service set us apart from the competition and fueled our success," Eric Maass, CTO at Lighthouse Security Group, said in a statement.

IBM says the challenges of data access have been exacerbated by the digital world where companies are struggling to protect company information, including employee and customer identity, as they are stored beyond the traditional enterprise. Rather than managing a single point of entry to this information, businesses must now be able to verify who is accessing their systems, data and network, and whether they are entitled to do so, from multiple points, including cloud and mobile devices. In this new era, identity and access management has become the first line of defense from potential data breaches, IBM said.

Lincoln, Rhode Island-based Lighthouse Security Group's Lighthouse Gateway is an identity management solution that will be integrated into IBM's managed security services offering. The Lighthouse Gateway is a cloud-based platform that includes a full suite of functionality that is based on IBM Security Identity and Access Management capabilities—including user provisioning, identity lifecycle governance, single sign-on, enterprise user registry services, federation and user self service.

Customers can deploy and use the Lighthouse Gateway solution from a secure, hosted environment, which reduces the cost of digital identity management and speeds the deployment for any type of IT environment—a data center, in the cloud or a hybrid of the two. As a result, businesses can take steps to help protect corporate data and prevent identity theft by ensuring that only authorized personnel can access sensitive corporate information no matter what the entry point.

For instance, an automobile manufacturer looking to provide its global sales managers with access to classified specs on its new line of cars might move this data to the cloud. This would enable authorized managers to access the specifications from their laptops or smartphones while on the show floor. The Lighthouse Gateway could help the company to ensure that the information is shared from its on-premise data center to the cloud, but only authorized employees have access to the information.

"Business models are rapidly evolving as employees conduct more of their work offsite," Kris Lovejoy, general manager of IBM Security Services, said in a statement. "Protecting this data and who has access to it has become a challenge, costing our clients time and money. With this acquisition, IBM provides a unique identity and access management offering that combines proven software and analytics technology with expert managed services that make it easy for businesses to tackle the complexities of security in this new digital world."

The acquisition of Lighthouse Security Group extends IBM's security reach in its effort to help businesses protect their data. IBM has made more than a dozen acquisitions in security in the past decade and has more than 6,000 security researchers and developers in its 25 security labs worldwide that work on developing enterprise-class solutions.

As part of IBM's managed security services offering, Lighthouse will be joining a part of IBM's business that was recognized for leadership in its space. Last month, market research firm IDC named IBM a leader in managed security services in its report, "IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Managed Security Services 2014 Vendor Assessment."

In the report, which evaluated 11 companies offering managed security services around the globe, IDC analysts placed IBM in the "leaders" category, recognizing the company for its "strengths in advanced threat intelligence, big data analysis of threat intelligence, cloud security, complementary services and customer portal." With cyber-attacks growing in both number and sophistication, these services are critical as businesses look to protect their most valuable assets, including those in the cloud.

The report also named IBM as one of the few "participants with managed security services delivery that can be considered truly global."