CA Technologies, Northrop Grumman Ink Deal For Government Cloud Solutions

Northrop Grumman, a leading provider of health IT solutions to the government, has signed an agreement with CA Technologies to deliver cloud-based identity and access management solutions to its health-care and government clients, the companies announced this week.

The agreement will expand Northrop Grumman's cloud solutions portfolio, giving it access to CA CloudMinder, CA Technologies' SaaS-based user provisioning, user management and access request system. Northrop Grumman is the third largest contractor to the U.S. government, with more than $15 billion in contracting dollars across multiple areas, according to the Project on Government Oversight.

"For us, [these solutions are] one of the most important things we're seeing our customers are asking for," Zaki Saleh, business development director for health IT at Northrop Grumman, said in an interview with CRN.

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The intersection of three major tech trends is what signaled that the time is right for the partnership, Mike Denning, senior vice president and general manager of security at CA Technologies, said. The first trend is the increase in mobility and desire for end users and citizens to access information on the move, Denning said. The second one, he said, is the expanding amount of users who need to access the system, from employees to citizens. And the third trend is the movement of the applications themselves, oftentimes to the cloud, Denning said.

"It's really a best-in-class partnership. The reach of Northrop Grumman is something that CA sees as really beneficial accelerant to getting into market with technology that we think is primed [for success]," Denning said.

The agreement ties in with the government's Cloud First strategy, a government policy since 2010 that says agencies have to take advantage of cloud computing to cut costs and improve flexibility. However, with the sequestration and other cut backs on spending, contract dollars are getting harder to come by. But the partnership, Saleh said, might help mitigate the slowdown for Northrop Grumman and help it stay on top of customer needs and IT spend in the public sector.

"From a federal IT spending perspective, the broader market is experiencing some slow down; however, the need will always be there [for identity and access management solutions], and we want to be available for our customer when they need that," Saleh said.

What attracts clients to the cloud-based solutions is twofold, Saleh said. First, he said that, especially with the budget cutbacks, cloud infrastructure and virtualization can help lower operating expenses. Second, he said, the addition of cloud-based identity and access management solutions can help prevent fraud.

"From a technology perspective, you have to have certain audit and control points if you're going to start sharing information more broadly, ... [and] all of those things are great accelerators of new business," Denning said. "These are three macro trends around infrastructure service, around security and around mobility from a citizen perspective as well as from an agency perspective that we think the time is right for."