Cloud Security Vendor Centrify Adds MSP Program

Cloud security vendor Centrify has unveiled a new tier aimed at MSPs and executives say the SaaS-based identity management company is increasingly turning to system integrators and skilled security consultancies to establish a broader customer base.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Centrify got its start in privileged identity management with on-premise, data center deployments in 2004 aimed at making Access Directory more friendly with Linux and Unix server environments. It has gotten attention for being early with SaaS-based authentication capabilities.

Centrify North American Channel Chief Nathan Adams said the new MSP tier provides an MSP-friendly pricing model for partners who want to use the technology internally to on-board and provide the single sign-on and other identity services to their clients. Adams, wholeft Blue Coat Systems in 2013 to build Centrify's channel program, said partners are having success with the Active DIrectory-based authentication, access control and role-based privilege management for enterprises, and the SaaS-based platform for single sign-on.

The company is seeing increased competition in recent years with SaaS-based authentication platforms fromOkta, which is also embracing the channel, OneLogin, Ping Identity, CA and others. Another group of cloud security vendors address data loss prevention, encryption and threat detection and include Ciphercloud, Skyhigh Networks and security startup Elastica, which is launching its platform with a 100 percent channel strategy. Elastica said this week that it inked a reseller deal twith Accuvant.

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Solution providers tell CRN that organizations are struggling togain control of cloud application use in the enterprise. A survey of nearly 150 security chiefs issued by IBM last November found that IT budgets were shifting to address cloud security issues by investing in data protection, monitoring and managed security services.

Companies are assessing how to extend authentication and privilege management to mobile workers and gain control and visibility of data stored in cloud-based services, solution providers say. Organizations can choose to go with one of the SaaS-based identity and access management vendors, but they should first assess the investments in infrastructure that is already in place, said Matthew Lawson, professional services director and head of the security practice at Dallas-based Tech10 Networks. The approach an organization takes depends on the unique environment and the budget available for the project, he said.

’We now talk about putting the centralized management outside of the domain,’ Lawson said. ’We can put in a new support or management envelope which encompasses the mobile workforce, mobile devices and the cloud services they connect to.’

Centrify is partnering with AVG to address small and midsize businesses with its SaaS-based identity management software. The Centrify MSP program is aimed at partners with clients in the upper midmarket and has a different cost structure that addresses on-boarding new tenants on-the-fly and co-term maintenance agreements, Adams said. The program also gives qualified MSPs access to marketing funds, he said.

’From a cost and revenue standpoint, this is a winner for MSPs,’ Adams said. ’A lot of them have these hosted portals for their customers and it’s a really big differentiator to use our technology for authorization of specific cloud applications and on-premise applications as well.’

MSPs that qualify must agree to a joint business and marketing plan, pass a quarterly partner review and have Centrify deployed internally. MSPs must maintain two certified sales and two certified engineers.

In addition to Saas-based single sign-on for Office 365 and other cloud-based applications, Centify’s capabilities include multifactor authentication, user provisioning, mobile security, and controlled access to on-premise applications such as SharePoint.

Centrify does sales and training through its partner portal. The company has been focusing on building quality partners -- identity specialists and systems integrators -- that take the time to become experts in the technology, Adams said. There is a lot of room for growth, with organizations trying to streamline authorization and control identities across SaaS and on-premises applications.

Adams told CRN that over the next year SaaS-based identity management vendors will increasingly focus on mobility, and managing internal devices that connect to cloud applications.

’We see our wins being most successful around being able to encompass the entire enterprise,’ Adams said. ’Our partners are increasingly able to pull all the critical players into a room and help them understand the technology and the business value that it brings.’