Monday, August 17, 2015

Centrify's Value Proposition - Part 2: The hybrid and heterogeneous enterprise

Organizations with traditional (on-premise) and  hybrid (private/public cloud) with Active Directory, come to Centrify because:
  • They have diverse platforms (UNIX, Linux, Macs) in their enterprise (on-premise and in the cloud).
  •  They are looking to Centralize the administration (or implement effective controls) for user access in those different platforms.  Their reasons may be due to security, regulation, operational efficiency or simply because they are reacting to an audit or other event.
  •  They are also looking to leverage the secure authentication methods provided by Active Directory. 
  •  They are looking to find a way to effectively manage UNIX identities by using Active Directory, but preferably, they don’t want any schema extensions to AD or software loaded in Domain Controllers.
  • Some other organizations (and this is quite common on the Mac side) are looking for a more robust way to support AD integration and are also looking to use a common management framework (like Active Directory Group Policies) to enforce security policy or configuration management policies.
  • Other organizations are looking to focus on their core competencies because perhaps they invested a lot of engineering cycles using open source software (like Samba/Winbind, RedHat’s SSSD, OpenLDAP with MIT Kerberos) and realized that the speed of requirements and diversity of platforms does not align with their goals.  (E.g. a Financial organization spending hundreds of man hours on “manual” identity and access controls rather than portfolio analysis).  These types of organizations are ready for a solution that “just works”
  • Organizations want solutions that are friendly to private/public cloud scenarios; this means a toolset that promotes automation.
  • The organization may have high-security requirements like smartcard authentication, FIPS encryption or common-criteria certified solutions
  •  Finally, some organizations tried to wait as long as they can keeping the status quo; and a compelling event has made them change like:
  • Change of leadership
  •  A merger or an acquisition
  •  A new technology (like BigData)
  •  Acknowledgement that advanced persistent threats can’t be ignored
  •  Another solution isn’t providing timely updates, proper support or their future is uncertain
  • An audit or data-breach
  •  Perhaps there’s an old infrastructure (e.g. NIS, LDAP) that found fresh blood that isn’t afraid of “touching the server, who knows what will break”  <= yes, this sadly happens.
Everything I outlined above is core of what some analysts call “Active Directory Bridging” but when you look at it is much more; it is the basis for implementing critical access controls and a management framework that is based on reuse of existing infrastructure and processes rather than point solutions.  It’s also the foundation of making sure users can do their work, without interrupting their flow.

Here’s a technical demonstration on how Centrify provides value:

 A very unique capability that is exclusive to Centrify is the zones technology.  Nobody else can do what Centrify does to group systems in a hierarchical way while consolidating UNIX identities for Users, Groups and NIS Maps.

Note that also, a large number of "born-in-the-cloud" organizations are coming to Centrify for Web Application SSO and Enterprise Mobility.  We will cover that in other entry.

In the next post, we'll focus on how Centrify builds on their AD bridging capabilities to provide Privileged User Management on UNIX, Linux and Windows and how it uses it's Identity Platform for secure access and shared account password management.

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