IdM companies move beyond 'single-issue vending'

* Trend examplified by Courion's move into governance and SailPoint's entry into provisioning

Every time I try to consign something to the "plumbing" layer, or say that it's been commoditized, my words tend to come back to bite me. It was just two months ago that I said (about user provisioning): "In fact, we almost take it for granted today." (See "User provisioning: right access to the right people".) Lately, though, there's been enough new ideas in provisioning that we really can't take it for granted.

First, though, I should properly credit the title of that newsletter ("The right access for the right people") where it belongs -- to Courion since it paraphrases their mantra ("User provisioning ensures that only the right people have the right access to the right resources"). And it's Courion I want to talk about today.

Last week it announced a technology partnership with Symantec to facilitate the integration of Courion's Access Assurance Suite 8.0 with Symantec Data Loss Prevention 10. According to Courion's Chris Sullivan (vice president of customer solutions), this will "create the industry's most comprehensive content-aware identity and access management solution." Adds Kurt Johnson (vice president of corporate development and strategy), "[T]his solution represents a huge step forward in the ability to monitor and secure sensitive information."

So it seems that Courion wants to get more involved in the governance aspects of identity. This coming right on the heels of SailPoint's announcement that the Austin-based governance company is getting into the provisioning space.

Courion was also concerned that too much was being made of SailPoint's entry into provisioning since there appeared to be nothing new that hadn't already been in Courion's provisioning tools for a number of years. Of course, the same (or, rather, the opposite) could be said about Courion's move into governance -- long SailPoint's forte.

What we see here are two things: demand from customers to provide better integrated IdM technology, from as few sources as possible while maintaining consistent quality; and a desire to move beyond "single-issue vending" by the people in the IdM space. The motto for tech companies is still "grow or die," but it's necessary to grow in an organized way with new products/features that either leverage the existing mix or relate to it in new and interesting ways. Sometimes the "new thing" will be home grown, sometimes licensed and occasionally acquired. But new things -- or new ways to use old things -- are what sparks growth.

Courion's and SailPoint's innovations with taken-for-granted provisioning show that there's still room for growth on the part of other infrastructure (directory, authentication, SSO, etc.) tools and vendors. But it does require innovators to carry it off, something both of these companies have in abundance.

QUERY: Is your company using cloud services? Do you have a security plan in place? Would you like to tell others about it? I'm looking for user-panelists for a discussion of cloud services at the European Identity Conference in May. If you're interested, drop me a line (

Learn more about this topic

Governance planning for Sharepoint 2010: What's new?

The six elements of open source governance

Courion cuts cost of provisioning systems

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