Cisco Adds Security Policy Management With Securent Deal

Cisco on Thursday said it plans to acquire Securent, Mountain View, Calif., a privately held developer of software to administer, enforce, and audit access to data, communications, and applications in heterogeneous IT application environments.

The deal, which Cisco values at $100 million, plus assumed options, is expected to close in the second quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2008.

Securent's primary application is Entitlement Management Solution (EMS), an XACML standard-based solution which the company said enables enterprises to secure sensitive applications and data with ease and precision. It allows enterprises to create, enforce, review, and audit fine-grained access policies across heterogeneous application and IT environments distributed throughout the enterprise.

Whereas the typical enterprise uses identity management to authenticate who is let inside the security perimeter, and then applies security policies to specific applications and continually updates those policies, EMS provides centralized management of those policies.

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Don Proctor, senior vice president of Cisco's Collaboration Software Group, said in a prepared statement, "Securent's software offers enterprises a single point of control to define and manage entitlements across applications and data. This capability is well aligned with Cisco's Service-Oriented Network Architecture (SONA), enabling policy decisions to be delivered as a network service across multiple applications, platforms, and delivery models."

Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider which has made security a central focus of its business to go with its server and storage infrastructure focus, called Cisco's acquisition an opportunity to take security to a new level.

Teter said that Cisco has had the technology to monitor and analyze security, but no policy engine to drive it.

"To handle policies, you have to take security from the network to the application, which is where it needs to happen," Teter said. "Cisco is an integral part of everyone's strategy. This will help ease administration of all the pieces that need to be secured."

Teter said that customers could apply policies application by application, or use tools like single sign-on. "But Securent allows the tracking and control of what users do across applications," he said.