Optiv Security Joins Identity Defined Security Alliance

Security solution provider heavyweight Optiv Security signed on with the Identity Defined Security Alliance, a collection of vendors led by Ping Identity that developed a blueprint for implementing identity-defined security systems.

By joining the alliance, Optiv can provide its customers with a more complete, more highly integrated set of IT security solutions and services compared with the often-disparate IT security systems many companies operate today, said Robert Block, vice president of identity access management at Denver-based Optiv, in an interview.

"What this alliance allows us to do is bring that higher level of service to our customers," Block said.

[Related: Merger Complete: Optiv Security Officially Launches As Security Solutions Powerhouse]

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Optiv is the $1.5 billion security powerhouse created last year through the merger of Accuvant and FishNet Security. The combined companies were No. 26 on the 2015 CRN Solution Provider 500.

Ping Identity develops security technology based on user identities rather than the more traditional approach of using firewalls to build barriers around sensitive systems and information. The Denver-based company's argument is that such approaches don't work in today's increasingly cloud-based, mobile computing world.

"We're trying to connect everything to everything securely," said Ping Identity CEO Andre Durand in an interview. He noted that employees today often work with cloud applications outside corporate firewalls and frequently conduct business using their personal smartphones and mobile devices over unsecured networks.

But Durand noted that adopting the company's "identity infrastructure" approach to security can be a challenge given that it often means implementing and integrating new types of security technologies – often from multiple vendors.

That gave rise to the Identity Defined Security Alliance, formed in October, that includes VMware, cloud access security broker Netskope, and ThreatMetrix, a developer of cloud-based software for authenticating digital personas and transactions.

Through the alliance the companies have integrated their products and developed blueprints and best practices for implementing an identity-based security system. The blueprint and best practices were created based on the experiences of some of Ping's leading customers, Durand said.

"Customers want solutions, not technologies," he said. "Businesses are not always aware of what technologies work well together to provide a comprehensive view of security with the modern challenges that companies are facing with cloud and mobile adoption and the new threats that come with that adoption."

Executives of both companies said that because Optiv serves as a trusted adviser for its customers, it is well positioned to evaluate and advise businesses on identity-defined security issues and use the alliance blueprint to implement and integrate the appropriate technologies.

Optiv's Block said that following the merger, Optiv had conversations with its customers to better understand their needs. And a common theme was that while the solution provider did a good job of selling and implementing specific security technologies, customers really needed a higher level of integration across multiple systems.

"We decided we wanted to focus on that," Block said. "With cyberattacks increasing in prevalence and sophistication, organizations must develop a comprehensive security strategy and program that incorporates the right people, processes and technologies to address the growing cyberthreat. We wanted Optiv to be able to bring that integrated architecture to our customers."

Optiv already had a relationship with Ping and discovered that with the alliance, the vendor was thinking along much the same lines, Block said. Through the alliance and its blueprint Block sees Optiv as better able to develop customer use cases and create packaged integration offerings and service bundles for linking disparate systems.

"Ultimately, this is all about time-to-solution-implementation," said Ping's Durand. "We're packaging up a solution and partnering with a company that can deliver it at scale."