Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cisco gets entitled - updated

Cisco Systems announced this morning a definitive agreement to acquire entitlement management leader Securent, Inc.

I've disagreed with Securent CEO Rajiv Gupta on some issues, notably the use of role management in identity and entitlement systems, but I can't disagree about this move - it makes a good deal of sense from Securent's perspective.

Entitlements, usually linked to applications and the rights and privileges users have within those applications (as opposed to standard operating system rights to access the application), should also be linked to the field of Network Access Control - NAC (which Cisco calls Network Admission Control). From that point of view its also a good move on Cisco's part.

Whether or not it advances Identity Management at all, though, is open to question. Cisco, certainly, has a view of identity that's very much at odds with other major technology vendors. As a hardware company, it tends to focus on the platform, not the user. It's important to remember that all those "things" in the network have identity, but not at the expense of the people using those things. By the same token, Securent might be thought of as focusing too narrowly on the rules and not seeing the users who the rules are built to support.

I don't think this signals a round of acquisition activity for entitlement management companies, but only time will tell about that. In the meantime, keep working on your Role Management rollout.

UPDATE: As someone pointed out to me, Securent will join Cisco's "Collaboration Software Group" which, as far as I can tell, is the group responsible for WebEx and not much else. The group is headed by Don Proctor, formerly Senior Vice President of the Voice Technology Group, a remarkably unsuccessful branch of the networking powerhouse. In looking around the Cisco web site, in fact, they seem more of a candidate to become a Securent client rather than an acquirer - unless John Thompson Chambers (thanks, Ian!) wants to keep the technology all to himself!

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John Thompson? Was that an oblique reference to Symantec or did you mean John Chambers?

- Ian -
Hmmm. Yeah, I'd assume WebEx was left alone, mostly as they did with Scientific Atlanta and Linksys. Don't wanna kill the brand name (or muck up their process).
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