IBM Buys Lighthouse Security Group To Boost IAM Offerings

IBM bought the Identity and Access Management (IAM) subsidiary of longtime IBM partner Lighthouse Computer Services on Monday in an effort to bolster its cloud-based security offerings and one-up competitors Amazon Web Services, CA and Oracle.

The subsidiary, called Lighthouse Security Group, was purchased for an undisclosed sum. The business unit, based in Lincoln, R.I., is comprised of roughly 18 full-time employees and 15 full-time contractors, and manages 14 million user IDs across 57 countries. It counts companies such as Ford Motor, Coors Brewing and Campbell Soup as customers.

Lighthouse Security Group sells a combination of consulting and integration services for deploying cloud-based identity services that help companies manage employee access to secure resources. Lighthouse Security helps companies create policies and monitors access rights to prevent unauthorized access. Controlling who has access to what and from what type of device becomes paramount to thwarting potential data breaches.

Related: IBM Acquires CrossIdeas For Identity Analytics, Access Governance

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Sources at Lighthouse say its security group was growing extremely fast and that IBM had the know-how, scale and expertise to take it to the next level.

Companies such as IBM, AWS and CA are racing to deliver services to help solve the evolving needs of businesses that are increasingly moving to on-premise and off-premise data center solutions.

Lighthouse Security Group complements IBM's identity and access management portfolio. The group becomes part of the IBM Security Services division within the Global Technology Services group. According to IBM, the deal includes the transfer of all Lighthouse Security Group employees and contractors.

"From a customer perspective, IBM now has the ability to deploy end-to-end cloud-based IAM services, software and systems," said Latha Maripuri, director of IBM security services. "Our competition may be able to offer a piece of the solution, but IBM will be able to deliver the entire solution."

Maripuri said that social, mobile and cloud trends are weighing heavily on companies that are trying to manage identities, and it’s important to have one company wrestle the complex solutions. That end-to-end IAD offering eliminates the complexity of multivendor deployments and ultimately saves customers money.

Maripuri said that IBM plans to roll out a full suite of IAM offerings to its channel partners. "It's our intent to have our business partners selling these services within the next six to 12 months," she said.

The purchase is within the Global Technology Services group and is the second recent acquisition by GTS. In July, IBM Security Services purchased CrossIdeas, a privately held provider of security software that governs user access to applications and data across on-premise and cloud environments.

"Business models are rapidly evolving as employees conduct more of their work off site. Protecting this data and who has access to it has become a challenge, costing our clients time and money," said Kris Lovejoy, general manager, IBM Security Services, in a prepared statement. "With this acquisition, IBM provides a unique identity and access management offering that combines proven software and analytics technology with expert managed services that make it easy for businesses to tackle the complexities of security in this new digital world."

Seven years ago, Lighthouse, as a longtime IBM partner, kicked off its IAM security business based on IBM software under the leadership of Eric Maass, chief technology officer, Lighthouse Security Group. He is credited for having the foresight to lead the charge on identity access management and tightly integrate it with IBM solutions.

"Our ability to match the power and capabilities of traditional enterprise offerings through a cloud-based service set us apart from the competition and fueled our success," Maass said.