CA’s Acquisition of IDFocus

Yesterday CA announced its acquisition of IDFocus,  a small Israeli company.  Among other abilities, IDFocus provides a finer-grained segregation of duty (SoD) analysis engine.  CA has previously integrated this engine into Identity Manager, their user provisioning tool.

This is an interesting wrinkle in an ever-changing market.  CA now possesses a preventive-controls engine with the ability to look further into the security stack of an application.  This engine allows customers to make SoD decisions below the role or group level, at the lower ACL/security object levels.  Provisioning vendors have until now done this by calling external services provided by Enterprise Application Controls Management (EACM) vendors.

On one hand, CA has partially obviated the need to integrate with an SAP, Oracle, or Approva by integrating the IDFocus capabilities into CA Identity Manager.  On the other hand, CA’s move may have made things more confusing for customers.  By increasing the number of controls repositories that a customer has to maintain, integration of IDFocus makes compliant provisioning deployments more challenging.  What would be really slick is if CA could find a way to work with the EACM vendors to synchronize SOD tests so that a customer could use the same test for both detective and preventive applications.

I was speaking on this very topic in Europe last week.  I commented on the various architectures for integrating EACM into user provisioning to provide compliant provisioning services.  (For more on this subject, check out Lori’s report on the matter.)  CA has now introduced a fourth deployment model in which the provisioning engine owns the entire compliant provisioning event from the request through the SoD test to the provisioning event itself. An interesting alternative. I’ll be curious to see where CA takes this.

(Originally post on Burton Groups’ IdPS blog.)

ERM and the organization: Kevin’s response

A while back I had commented on consolidation in the role management world.  As I have said before, from product management and marketing perspectives, integrating a role management tool into an existing identity management suite is a no-brainer.  This is not to say that the implementation and deployment are no-brainers as well – so don’t get too excited Greg 😉  What is more interesting is where major vendors like Oracle and Sun will take enterprise roles management.

I had also mentioned that it would be great for Kevin Kampman of Burton to weigh in on the subject, and sure enough, he did.  I am intrigued by his concept of “return on organization.” But to see this return it first requires identity management vendors to share this value proposition with the parts of the enterprise that really care; it forces IdM vendors to sell to “the business.”  Making identity management truly relevant to the entire business has always been one of IdM’s challenges.  Role management does present a new way of taking older topics to a new audience but I wonder if potential customers are ready to hear it.

The Enterprise Role Management Integration Challenge

Nishant, in a light hearted manner, took my post on Sun acquiring Vaau as a bit of a dare. This is how I responded to his comment:

Since I don’t believe that ERM is an end in and of itself, I am more curious where the market and technology will go now that two “suite” vendors have made acquisitions. If, by orchestrating some sort of challenge between Oracle and Sun to integrate and innovate, I can help move things along, then yes, by all means, consider it a challenge. Maybe the gang at Burton Group can referee this?

How vendors like Sun and Oracle integrate their ERM acquisitions will have a very tangible impact on the future direction of identity management. Both are in a position to unlock the true value of enterprise role management.

The step of integrating ERM in user provisioning is a no brainer, though it will be interesting to see how fast each vendor can do it. What is more interesting is the step beyond that. I started to ruminate on that before… guess we’ll have to wait and see what comes.

In the meantime, it would be great if someone like Kevin Kampman would weigh in on this.

Oracle buys LogicalApps: Approva Remains the Land of Freedom

(The following is also available over at Approva’s Audit Trail.)

The deal has been announced and will finally be done in November. Nobody is particularly surprised that Oracle is buying LogicalApps, least of all, us here at Approva. With this transaction Oracle will now have a controls automation tool needed to continue its fight with SAP. Analysts, bloggers, and prospective customers have asked: where does this leave Approva and the answer is – exactly where we want to be: Approva remains the independent controls monitoring company – and the only one with the proven ability to work across applications, in multiple platforms and for any kind of control.

Oracle (and similarly SAP) are taking the approach of strongly tying and embedding their controls monitoring tools in their ERP packages. What’s wrong with this approach? It is fundamentally too limited in scope and vision. Yes, managing controls in ERP systems is critical, especially in a SOX world. But, a tool that scopes controls automation down to SoD analysis for a specific ERP package (and, for that matter, a specific version therein) can only provide a keyhole view and doesn’t truly serve the GRC needs of the enterprise. Since LogicalApps only addressed Oracle E-Business Suite, with this acquisition Oracle continues to neglect its red haired step children: PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Hyperion, Siebel… where’s the controls love for them?

To say that governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) is an ill-defined piece of buzzword bingo may be the understatement of the last few years. If someone says they have a complete GRC platform to meet all enterprise needs, kindly escort them out of the building via the nearest window. The point is that we, vendors, service providers, and customers, are still feeling out what truly needs to be in a complete GRC solution set and over time “GRC” will continue to evolve before it solidifies into a commonly accepted set of capabilities. Accepting this limited definition of controls automation that ERP vendors are serving up will cost their customers and force them to reinvest over time. By definition, a constrained, embedded approach to controls automation is shortsighted. It cannot meet the future needs of GRC because it cannot adapt to other systems and other processes that will eventually fall under the controls monitoring umbrella.

Approva’s approach has been and will continue to be fundamentally different. By staying independent and ERP agnostic, while at the same time providing rich domain expertise in those ERP packages, we provide customers better controls monitoring capabilities than the ERP vendors. We do this not only in these ERP applications, but we also provide the ability to do so in any application. Furthermore, we do this for any kind of automate-able control, be it traditional authorization-related segregation of duty or any kind of business process that our customers and business partners dream up. And we do all of this without the premium or baggage associated with ERP vendors.

Freedom to monitor any kind of control. Freedom to leverage our deep domain expertise as well as that of our partners in the audit world. Yep, staying independent is all about freedom for Approva and it is this freedom we give to our customers – even Oracle’s red haired step kids. I may not know what the final definition of GRC will be, but I do know that Approva’s independent approach to controls monitoring will serve its customers better than any controls monitoring tool shackled to just a single ERP package.