Security Solution Providers See Growing Opportunity In Privileged Account Management

There are plenty of opportunities for solution providers in security, but one rising to the top is the growing demand for privileged account management solutions, a panel of security experts and solution providers said this week in Boston.

Privileged account management is a market that is gaining attention in security sales conversations, as many of the most notable breaches in recent months involved some form of privilege abuse. The technology helps companies identify, secure, manage and monitor those privileged accounts.

It's a market where partners are seeing a lot of opportunity, especially in integration with identity and access management solutions or security services, partners and security experts said in a panel discussion moderated by CRN.

[Related: Q&A: CyberArk CEO Talks Acquisition Rumors And Up-And-Coming Privileged Account Management Market]

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"I think [customers] are opening their eyes to this opportunity," said panel member Charles Drum, director of security technology at Boulder, Colo.-based Integral Partners.

David Mapgaonkar, Principal, Cyber Risk Services at Deloitte (which provides audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies), says that various clients are recognizing privileged account management as a "known business problem.’ That’s an attitude that has evolved from a historical approach of user provisioning and single sign-on in the early 2000s, he said, and highlights the move from a focus on protection to the ability to monitor and respond.

"Spending on security used to be focused on protecting data and information," Mapgaonkar said. "Today, that has evolved. It's no longer just protection. … Companies are focusing on monitoring and vigilance. … Then, when the breach does happen, they are measured on how quickly they can respond and how resilient their business is."

For that reason, Mapgaonkar said, Deloitte is placing a "big bet on privileged account management" by investing in the technology, training people and building partnerships with key vendors.

"We anticipate that there will be a big, significant payoff at the end of it. We don't think this is a one-time spike of need. It's going to be here for a long time," Mapgaonkar said.

Drum said his business has seen particular success integrating privileged account management solutions into a solution with identity and access management, using the company's system integration capabilities to build out custom connectors and intellectual property around the two. He said he has also seen success securing the log-in systems for security professionals and other security vendor solutions.

"That's a huge opportunity to help clients define and implement that process and use the building blocks from [privileged account management vendors] and existing solutions out there to build out assets … to tell a story beyond just what we're doing today," Drum said.

Scott Whitehouse, vice president of channels and alliances for the Americas at CyberArk, a Newton, Mass.-based privileged account management vendor, said that's a successful approach he sees many of the company's channel partners taking. He said he has also seen partners connecting the solution to analyst tools and vulnerability management through the endpoint.

Whitehouse said CyberArk sees privileged account management often coming up in conversations after a breach has already occurred or in response to an audit. However, he said CyberArk is pushing partners to have more of that conversation before an event takes place to prevent it from happening in the first place.

That's an opportunity that has a lot of runway for partners, CyberArk CEO Udi Mokady said. He said 2015 was a "wakeup call" when it comes to the importance of high privilege access management, and the channel is key to expanding that solution footprint.

"It's an open, greenfield opportunity," Mokady said.