CA's New Security Leader Plans To Push Authentication, Access Management Business

CA Technologies plans to ramp up its strategy for identity, authentication and access management with the appointment of Michael Denning, who joined the software company as the new general manager of its security business.

The addition of Denning aligns with CA's stated three-fold security strategy to enhance key security components of identity, access management and cloud.

Denning replaced Dave Hansen, who took the position of general manager for CA's products and solutions. Both Denning and Hansen will report to David Dobson, CA executive vice president and group executive of customer solutions group.

Denning, who jumped on board CA after 11 years at VeriSign, says his primary focus will be to beef up the company's identity and access management, authentication and DLP businesses, with a heavy emphasis on data protection technologies across all platforms.

Sponsored post

"The mobility of the workforce and the fact that one user, while [he or she may] have the same identity, has three or four devices, and emphasizes the need for a better identity and access management system overall," he said. "The workforce is becoming much more mobile. As you look at those users with multiple devices, you still have to come back to fundamentally controlling those users and controlling that data based on those permissions."

The main thrust of that identity-oriented strategy will be focusing on three areas: control of users, control of their access and control of the data, subsequently "driving that message further into the market and highlighting the need for security as you're adopting cloud services," he said.

In the nearer term, Denning says that he plans to expand the company's portfolio, focusing on tighter integration within the product lines and creating more bundled solutions that combine an array of identity and authentication oriented technologies.

That product expansion will also include developing cloud versions of the company's identity and authentication products as customers continue to migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud.

"We're going to take our cues from the market," he said. "The cloud will be a great addition to our current mix of products. And we see an overall rise in importance for the enterprise."

Going forward, Denning said that he hoped to expand the company's presence and customer base, with a particular emphasis on the mid-enterprise as well as key geographic such as regions EMEA, APAC and other emerging markets, as well as investing heavily in internal R&D.

Denning said that the company would seek to aggressively recruit a mix of MSP partners as well as system integrators and hardware resellers to achieve the company's aims.

Next: CA Partners Weigh In On Denning's Appointment

Meanwhile, existing CA partners say that the addition of Denning is a logical step for expansion in the company's flourishing identity and access management space.

"I think definitely it's going to be a big focus of CA as an overall company," said Todd O'Bert, president and CEO of Minneapolis-based Productive. "They know that this business unit needs to grow, and they know that they need to do that with partners. It's definitely good."

But other solution providers said that down the road they would like to see a few changes in the way that CA handles its services business. One MSP, who asked to speak off the record, said that the company's professional internal services divisions in various regions had previously undermined services deals with its own offerings. As such, he often found himself competing against the company's for sales.

"I should never have to compete with CA professional services for a deal that we helped sell," he said.

One thing the MSP hoped would continue to change is CA's relatively new about-face when it came to lead generation. Once upon a time, CA reps would almost never introduce a partner to a new account, he said. "Now it's changed," he said. "Literally, we have CA introducing us to some of their deals. Maybe 30 percent of our CA opportunities are introduced to us. In the past it was zero percent."

Others, however, didn't share the opinion that channel issues were going to be resolved any time soon.

In particular, Don James, CEO of Bear Data Systems, based in Belmont, Calif., said that in previous years the company had strong channel programs, but had since been plagued with inconsistent policies that often vary region to region, he said. Additionally, the company had fallen short in terms of communication, with issues that ranged from failing to map out account opportunities, to lack of participation in partner programs.

"Their programs ebb and flow as do their desire of how they work with the channel or not. Maybe they've made some recent changes. We've done very little with them and don’t see them really reaching out," James said.

James said he would reconsider investing more effort into CA if Denning made concerted efforts to reach out to partners and implement sweeping changes within the program.

Thus far, he said, no one had reached out to him regarding Denning's appointment.

"In a previous life, a couple of times, we've had some great programs going. And at other times, they've turned off the channel, if you will," he said. "I think if he changes some programs and they reach out to us, it could impact our business."