Microsoft, RSA Team Up To Prevent Data Leaks

Shipping later this month, RSA's DLP Suite 6.5 will integrate with Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS), which is part of Windows Server 2008, and helps companies protect data through persistent usage policies that follow data no matter where it travels. The latest version of the AD RMS client is built into Windows Vista.

Solution providers said the integration is something for which customer demand has been high for some time. "This is definitely a huge step in the right direction for Microsoft," said Eric Anderson, CTO of Netanium Network Security, a Chelmsford, Mass.-based solution provider.

"For years, Microsoft has have been a thorn in the side of security and compliance officers," said Anderson. "It finally looks like they're taking a proactive step towards correcting the data exposure they've fostered. It will be interesting to see how -- and which -- third party DLP vendors are affected."

The Microsoft-RSA collaboration will let organizations define central information security policies tied to employee identity or group membership, automatically identify and classify sensitive data, and be able to better protect data at the endpoints, network, and data center.

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There are many areas of security that work well as layers added onto the infrastructure, said Ken Phelan, CTO of Gotham Technology Partners, a solution provider based in Montvale, N.J.

"Everyone uses Active Directory, but few people really classify their data and manage rights proactively. Any tool set that helps with this will be well received," Phelan said.

Bill Calderwood, president of The Root Group, a Boulder, Colo.-based security solution provider, says the move could make a dent in the DLP market and be particularly attractive to large Microsoft shops.

"As companies look to reduce administration costs of multiple products, this type of integration starts to win even if the feature set isn't as rich," Calderwood said.

RSA, Bedford, Mass., entered the DLP market with its August 2007 acquisition of Tablus, San Mateo, Calif. In April, RSA launched the DLP suite, which incorporates identity assurance, information protection and event management technologies.

In October, RSA made the DLP Suite available to channel partners, giving them access to pre-sales support, implementation and post-sales support, and technical training. Given the fact that DLP has been a services-rich technology, but one that has a significant technical bar, it's likely that RSA is seeing a flood of interest from solution providers.

This story was updated on 12/4/2008 at 12:45 PM EST to add solution provider comments