IBM Grabs Single Sign-on Vendor to Bolster Tivoli

IBM gobbles up Encentuate's enterprise single-sign and authentication technology to beef up its Tivoli portfolio and improve its position to compete with rival EMC and others.

IBM has gobbled up Encentuate's enterprise single-sign and authentication technology to strengthen its own Tivoli portfolio.

The purchase is part of a $1.5 billion security initiative IBM has planned for 2008. Encentuate, based in Redwood City, Calif., will help improve IBM's ability to compete with companies such as EMC by extending Big Blue's capabilities around identity access management, which is a market that analysts with Forrester Research expect to hit $12.3 billion by 2014.

IBM officials also announced the formation of the IBM Security Software Laboratory in Singapore to focus on developing enhancements to single sign-on and technologies aimed at simplifying access to applications.

According to IBM, key to the deal is Encentuate's ability to centrally track and collate all log-in events, as well as its ability to reduce the burden of remembering different passwords, rules and user IDs by automatically managing user passwords, sign-ons, sign-offs and policy enforcement.

The acquisition will also allow IBM to add a number of enhancements to the Tivoli Access Manger for Enterprise Single Sign-on product, such as client device support on platforms such as Windows CE and Windows XP Embedded and a wider choice of pre-packaged application support, officials said.

IBM's current version of TAM ESSO (Tivoli Access Manager for Enterprise Single Sign-on) is powered by technology from Encentuate-competitor PassLogix, courtesy of an OEM agreement. An IBM spokesperson said the company will continue to support existing TAM ESSO customers and work with them to determine an upgrade path to IBM's Encentuate-based offering.

"Encentuate's advanced capabilities to work with many different kinds of applications, its integration with strong authentication, its flexible approach to session management, and its ability to audit and log end-user activities set Encentuate apart from the competition," said Venkat Raghavan, director of storage and security strategy at IBM Tivoli Software.

"Starting today, IBM will begin to sell Encentuate's product as IBM's offering in the enterprise single sign-on space. In the coming months, we will release an enhanced version of Tivoli Access Manager for Enterprise Single Sign-On based on Encentuate technology."

This marks yet another deal related to the identity management market. In the past week, Microsoft recently announced it acquired Credentica's U-Prove user privacy technology, and Ping Identity acquired Sxip Access for its on-demand, identity management capabilities. Also, Quest Software announced last month it completed its acquisition of PassGo Technologies, a player in the single sign-on space.

Scott Crawford, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates, said the purchase by IBM is important because interest in single sign-on technology is gaining steam among enterprises. He predicted there will be more acquisitions over the course of the next two years around single sign-on technology.