ForgeRock boosts ANZ presence as security-aware execs drive IAM rethink

Surging executive interest in information security has paved the way for a “philosophical shift” in the deployment of identity and access management (IAM) technologies, the newly appointed head of IAM upstart ForgeRock has said as the company ramps up its ANZ presence.

Whereas security had previously been considered primarily in the context of malware detection, new concerns over the unceasing onslaught of security compromises had changed the tenor of discussions about identity, new ANZ and ASEAN regional vice president John Donovan – a 30-year industry veteran whose prior roles include running Symantec's ANZ operations and heading partner relations with VMware – told CSO Australia.

Executives that once saw malware-detection security investments as just being a necessary cost of doing business, conversations with local customers and partners confirmed that they were now looking to identity-based solutions as a strategic investment.

“There's still an element of security deployments for managing malicious threats, but they are now really focused on creating much more agile relationships with not just internal users but with partners, and with the devices of those users,” he explained.

“Now that we're talking about security and confidence in mobile devices and things like data centres and cloud infrastructure, it's not an IT discussion anymore; it's permeating the organisation at a range of levels. It's quite a philosophical shift – and it becomes a massive market opportunity to produce value-add from the security infrastructure, and from increasing confidence in those devices.”

San Francisco-based ForgeRock – which has leveraged its open-source Open Identity Stack to gain rapid market momentum since its November 2012 debut and now has customers managing nearly 500m identities – already has several offices around the world, with a regional base in Singapore. But the appointment of Donovan to grow the company's presence in Australia's fast-growing security market – and regional business powerhouses like Singapore and Malaysia – reflects an even bigger commitment to helping companies think more proactively about the way they rearchitect security infrastructures around identity-based policy models.

With 5 people on the ground in ANZ already and nearly that many expected to join shortly, Donovan is wasting no time in executing a three-pronged strategy that includes expanding ForgeRock's local salesforce, building a “100 percent partner delivered model”, and eventually establishing a Sydney office from which to base the company's local work.

Citing the “instability” in the market due to major corporate restructuring at the likes of Symantec, HP, and Dell, Donovan believes “the timing is great” for a smaller provider like ForgeRock to capitalise on its strengths and build out its relationships with partners that increasingly want to put IAM at the heart of their own IT-security work with customers.

“Many software companies have gotten a little bit enraptured with the idea of delivering services dollars back to the core of the organisation and tend to overstep,” Donovan said. “This creates competitive relationships with the partners. But we've got the capability here to make the partner network core to the business, and our intention is to drive services opportunities exclusively through the partners.”

Particularly in the wake of the major Heartbleed bug, open-source security tools are rapidly gaining new support as vendors look to deliver solutions that can be better integrated and readily checked for security on an ongoing basis. Local security specialists Kustodian, for example, recently abandoned commercial tools to target a much broader customer base with open-source tools enabling the delivery of high-end security analytics and monitoring tools at relatively low cost.

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