RSA Acquires Symplified Technology Assets In Fire Sale


SaaS-based identity and access management provider Symplified is shuttering its operations after selling off its technology assets to RSA in an apparent fire sale deal that closed in June.

RSA, The Security Division of EMC Corp., confirmed to CRN on Tuesday that it acquired the Boulder, Colo.-based identity platform maker's technology assets. A spokesperson said the firm is retaining a limited number of engineers who will remain in Colorado. RSA will be integrating the Symplified technology into its identity portfolio and "it will not have an immediate operational capability.”

"RSA/EMC took advantage of an unexpected opportunity to acquire certain technology assets of privately held Symplified, a provider of identity management solutions. Symplified’s technology is a strategic addition to RSA's Identity portfolio and will be integrated into RSA's Identity solutions" RSA said in a prepared statement.

[Related: Channel Sees Identity Management Market In Flux]

Symplified executives could not be reached for comment on Tuesday morning. The company  was one of a growing number of identity-as-a-service vendors offering single sign-on, limited user provisioning policy features, and other security capabilities for businesses that need to manage access to a growing number of cloud-based services, such as Salesforce.com, Box, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps.

Symplified emerged as a leader in the SaaS market for identity management in 2010 following a strategic partnership it struck a year earlier with Amazon Web Services, making it the only provider of single sign-on services in the AWS marketplace at the time. The company told CRN that it had more than 4 million subscribers. Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity and other SaaS identity providers struck similar deals with popular cloud services in recent years, said Pete Lindstrom, a research director for IDC's security products program. Lindstrom said it is too soon to call the Symplified fire sale a trouble sign for the SaaS identity management market. 

"It's a yellow card for the space that a pure play with such a strong reputation has met its demise in this way,” Lindstrom said.

Symplified was seen as a strong player against identity-as-a-service competitors that appeal to small and midsize businesses migrating from Exchange to Office 365 or adopted other cloud services that in the past were traditionally on-premises, Lindstrom said. Research firm IDC projected that the identity and access management market would reach $4.8 billion in 2013 and predicts continued market growth, reaching $6.9 billion in 2017. Lindstrom said SMBs are driving much of the growth in identity-as-a-service offerings.

Symplified hired channel veteran Stephen Casolari to spearhead its channel program last year and attract solution providers and consistencies that specialize in cloud security and platform deployments. Casolari left the company in January to join Unisys Corp. Okta, believed to be a market leader, announced a more formalized partner program to attract Microsoft national system integrator partners, consultants and resellers.

Interest in security products and services is increasing significantly, said Tyson Kopczynski, a security solution principal at Slalom Consulting in San Francisco. In addition to bolstering security with new technologies, businesses are interested in maintaining security and control over data being migrated to cloud services, Kopczynski said. Slalom said Okta and other identity brokers solve the single sign-on problem fairly easily and often get coupled with other security offerings. 

"Breaches are constantly in the news, and there's heavy marketing on security right now because it's definitely something organizations are clamoring to solve," Kopczynsi said.

Forrester Research analyst Andras Cser, in a recent interview with CRN, predicted some acquisition activity in the market led by large identity management vendors that couldn't immediately turn their platforms into a cloud service offering. Midmarket and larger businesses are moving toward hybrid deployments with interest in pure cloud deployments from smaller firms, Cser said.

EMC acquired Aveksa in a deal last year that gave it single sign-on, user provisioning and other access governance capabilities for on-premises and cloud-based services. The broad identity market is dominated by vendors with large services teams, such as IBM, Oracle, CA and NetIQ. SailPoint Technologies is also a strong vendor with a complete platform, according to Cser. 

RSA said Symplified’s technology helps it provide more flexibility with both cloud and on-premises deployment options. "RSA expects to fully explore the capabilities of the Symplified solution. While we will evaluate all options, it is likely we will first examine the potential integration with both Identity Management and Governance, and RSA's other authentication solutions,” the company said.

PUBLISHED JULY 15, 2014