Betting on authentication

Smarter identity management is the best way to stop enterprise fraud

If Paul Roberts ever goes to the track, I’m gonna let him place a few bets for me. He has a knack for picking winners. Case in point, a few weeks back, the InfoWorld senior editor suggested the time was right for a story on the enterprise’s need for stronger, brainier authentication to clamp down on fraud. No sooner had he finished writing this week's authentication cover story than EMC announced plans to buy authentication vendor RSA Security. A week later, it was Secure Computing buying CipherTrust (with its e-mail reputation system), while digital identity vendor Entrust snapped up fraud-detection company Business Signatures. The vendors clearly appreciate Roberts’ trend-spotting abilities.

These days, linking authentication with identity and access management is all the buzz in consumer circles, but in the enterprise, those disciplines are largely separate. “In a few years, though,” says Roberts, “no one will be surprised to log on to the network and have it do keystroke and geo-location analysis before letting you in.”

Entrust CTO Chris Voice, concurs: “Strong authentication is a place where not many [enterprises] have gone,” he told Roberts, who interviewed Voice the day the Business Signatures deal was announced. But Voice believes that anti-fraud technology like the kind Entrust just acquired will push identity and access management further into the enterprise.

To complete his anti-fraud trifecta, Roberts interviewed the two key players in the Secure Computing/CipherTrust deal. Highlights appear in our brand-new Newsmakers section. “For Newsmakers, the idea is to offer more that a ‘just the facts, ma’am,’ story,” Roberts says. This week, for instance, you’ll get an analysis of the security landscape and a frank assessment of competitors such as McAfee and Symantec.

But no betting advice, at least yet.