Startup Aims to Automate Identity Compliance

Dubbed Aveksa, the newly launched software maker is hoping to cash in on enterprise companies' struggles to get their arms around managing user authentication.

A new software startup named Aveksa introduced its first product June 14 with the goal of helping companies automate IT authentication systems management and regulatory compliance work.

Labeled as Alexa Compliance Manager, the software promises to centrally monitor the operation of access management tools present in other IT systems and applications, and give companies the ability to automate many compliance-related tasks that previously demanded manual work by systems administrators.

A number of the tasks that Compliance Manager aims to help simplify revolve around the demands placed on businesses to provide and document segregation of duties among employees in order to comply with regulations including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Using what it calls the "unified identity view," or the centralized reports it can generate by pulling together information from different types of authentication systems, the vendor maintains that companies will also be able to eliminate a lot of redundant work needed to address different regulations.

Customers can take a "comply-once, cross-regulatory" approach to maintaining ID-related authentication operations, said Deepak Taneja, Aveksas founder and chief executive.

"The cost of compliance has been so high because companies have been forced to swallow regulations on project-by-project basis," said Taneja.

"Our focus is on helping customers streamline their work and automate as much of the work as possible; this way they can make the work cheaper and more easily measured and tie it in more to organizational IT goals."

Taneja, who previously served as the chief technology officer at ID management specialists Netegrity, which was acquired by CA in late 2004, said that Aveksa specifically wants to provide the layer of software used to monitor and automate all the technologies needed to establish compliance.

Such tools are in particularly high demand today based on the disparate, proprietary technologies being used by enterprises to meet regulatory demands, he said.

Founded in 2004 and based in Waltham, Mass., the company has been operating in what the CEO called "stealth mode" ever since. Beta versions of the firms software have already been adopted by five customers, with more customers preparing to install the tools this week, he said.

The company also announced that it has closed $6 million in a Series A round of venture funding led by Charles River Ventures and Pequot Ventures.

The company reported that it will use the funds for product development and business development, with Barry Bycoff, a partner with Pequot Ventures and former CEO of Netegrity joining its board as part of the deal.

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One of the advantages that Aveksa is touting over more established providers of access management and compliance software is its ability to integrate with other companies products, and it has already established development relationships with firms including CA, Tivolo, SAP and Sun Microsystems.

While he believes that many authentication specialists will look to launch similar products, Taneja maintains that it will be impossible for many of the vendors to offer customers the same level of cross-platform integration and monitoring capabilities.

Customers are looking for outside tools such as Aveksas to keep these vendors on their toes, the CEO said.

"The provider of access shouldnt be auditor of access, and these customers know that you cant leave the fox minding the chicken coop," he said.

"ID management companies will try to move up into this layer were in, but they will always have competing agendas since they have no real interest in making their tools work together as we do."

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