Last week IBM announced the acquisition of Encentuate, a privately held identity and access management provider. IBM plans to integrate the technology into its Tivoli division, and the announcement included the formation of the IBM Security Software Laboratory in Singapore, which will utilise the expertise of Encentuate's Singapore development team.
Encentuate first came to the attention of Butler Group way back in 2003 as a start-up company with a single sign-on (SSO) solution designed to transition users to a strong digital identity. The company had started operations in the US in 2001, adding both the UK and Singapore operations in 2003.
In 2006 Butler Group reviewed the then-named 'Encentuate TCI' (Transparent, Convenient, Integrated) solution as part of its Identity and Access Management Technology Evaluation and Comparison Report (published June 2006), and although the technology and overall organisation strategy had moved on significantly since our first review, it appeared in the under-perform category.
This was because it only included provisioning, de-provisioning, and access control functionality in its portfolio through its integration with third-party partner solutions, and was only active in North America and Singapore (having removed the direct element of its European operations, instead seeking partners). The solution was sold extensively into the healthcare market in the US, and we noted that it would make a good acquisition target.
Today the Encentuate solution tracks and collates log-in attempts and documents and reports them to meet governance and compliance requirements. In the US healthcare market compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is essential for relevant organisations. The solution also helps to improve security by automatically managing user details and enforcing security policies.
According to Al Zollar, general manager at IBM Tivoli software: "Encentuate technology advances our capabilities in enterprise single sign-on by offering customers an easy-to-use solution, more flexible integration with strong authentication form factors, dynamic session management, and compliance-focused auditing and reporting capabilities."
Encentuate technology will be offered as part of the IBM Tivoli Access Manager suite and IBM expects to integrate Encentuate with its security management offerings such as IBM Tivoli Identity Manager, IBM Tivoli Federated Identity Manager, IBM Tivoli Compliance Insight Manager, and IBM Tivoli Security Operations Manager.
The acquisition will give IBM the opportunity to offer its extended Tivoli proposition to Encentuate customers, as well as giving the Encentuate solution the backing that only a company the size of IBM can provide. Customer numbers were always a problem when Butler Group reviewed the Encentuate offering, and there can be little doubt that this acquisition was needed to safeguard Encentuate's solutions.