Securent takes access control to a new level

Going beyond conventional access control, Securent lets administrators determine what users can and can't do after they're logged in

Many enterprises are desperately seeking the magic combination of identity and access management technologies to protect against hackers and insider threats -- and to pass external compliance audits. The founders of Securent think they have a brand new approach to the problem.

Founded in 2004 by a pair of longtime Web services specialists who worked together at Hewlett-Packard, Securent markets what its refers to as authorization and entitlement tools, a new category of product intended to extend beyond the SSO (single-sign on) technologies that control access in many enterprises today.

Securent's latest EMS (Entitlement Management Solution) Version 3.0, launched in mid-May, doesn't stop with simple gatekeeping for applications and databases. Using a central console, enterprises can also control which areas of those systems each individual may log in to and even what other applications they're allowed to have open while doing so, explains Rajiv Gupta, one of the firm's founders and its chief executive.

The ability to transcend conventional SSO and provide a new, more granular level of access control is already changing companies' approach to user entitlement, Gupta maintains. He also says that his fresh approach is attracting major partners in the identity management space, including Sun Microsystems, which is offering Securent's technologies to Sun customers.

"Rather than doing SSO or traditional authentication, we have a very distributed architecture that allows people to specify and configure entitlement policies in a central place to enforce them consistently over different applications and resources," Gupta says. "Leaders in the access management space are partnering with us because they realize that what they have today doesn't truly meet those needs."

Backed by venture capital from Greylock Partners and Onset Ventures, the 65-employee company has already built a stable of customers including Credit-Suisse, First American and Qualcomm and is currently in "hyper-growth" mode, according to the CEO, who previously led Web services projects at HP for a dozen years.

One recent milestone was the company's recent integration with Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration software. One Securent customer that recently offered SharePoint to its workers suddenly found itself forced to consider access control issues for 10,000 employee-generated SharePoint portals. Traditional SSO tools would fall woefully short in their capability to dovetail with such emerging content systems, Securent maintains.

"You can see how a company's exposure to risk can be compounded so quickly by something like SharePoint, but these are tools that businesses are counting on to help them continue to innovate," Gupta says. "Customers are already coming to us with requests for entitlement management, not access management, and this is a trend that will only continue to grow as people understand what our technology can do for them."