Your network ate my fine-grained auth engine: Cisco to acquire Securent

Cisco has announced it has agreed to acquire Securent. First, of congrats to my friends there. Well done.

Second, I have to wonder about this one. It makes a form of sense to integrate Securent into SONA. That makes sense… at some point. I wonder how baked the addressable market is for fine-grained authorization capabilities managed from the network through the application stack. Abstracting routing tables to business processes and objects is definitely an interesting one, but when does it really transition from an interesting academic exercise into a Cisco-sized market?

Third, Andras Cser over at Forrester writes:

Given the fact that enterprises are increasingly looking for integrated IAM stacks, the entry of Cisco into the entitlement management market will require a clear strategy of becoming a provider of IAM solutions either through organic growth or by acquisition.

If Cisco is really getting into the IAM market, they picked a bit of an unusual beachhead. Entitlement management and fine-grained auth are emerging submarkets within IAM; they are important, but are significantly smaller markets than web access management, enterprise single sign-on, user provisioning, etc. If Cisco is that serious about tackling this market, it seems to me they would have started with a more mainstream, mature area.