Modernizing Authentication — What It Takes to Transform Secure Access
User identity authorization and access solutions are a standard foundation for information security in most enterprise organizations today. In the past, identity solutions have typically been tethered to on-premise deployments of software. Intel is now attempting to break free of that limitation with its Cloud SSO (Single Sign On) solution that delivers identity management as a cloud-based service.
Intel Cloud SSO leverages the Salesforce.com "Force.com" cloud, though it is not limited in providing access to a broader range of applications. Vikas Jain, Director of Product Management for Cloud Identity and Security at Intel, told eSecurity Planet that the service can work with nearly any type of cloud application.
The service leverages the SAML, oAuth and OpenID standards to deliver cloud-based identity management. From an administration perspective, the system can integrate with technology Intel calls "Identity Bridge" that leverages an enterprise's existing ActiveDirectory and LDAP identity information stores for user authentication.
While Intel Cloud SSO can integrate with on-premise identity information stores, it currently is not a solution for delivering identity to on-premise applications. Rather, the system is limited to controlling access only to SaaS and cloud-based applications.
The Cloud Identity Manager from Intel subsidiary McAfee is similar to what Intel Cloud SSO delivers, but with one key caveat -- it's only available as an on-premise solution. The McAfee Cloud Identity Manager sits on premise and enables identity based access to cloud applications.
"If you have both on-premise and in-the-cloud applications, then for the on-premise portion you still have to leverage McAfee Cloud Identity Manager," Jain said. "We plan to add support for on-premise using identity bridge, but that's not in this release."
"Intel Cloud SSO is for customers that don't want to manage the software itself," Jain added.
McAfee is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel, though Jain noted when it comes to the new Intel branded Cloud SSO service, there is no direct relationship to McAfee's software solution.
"In the future, McAfee may get this solution as well, but at this point it's an Intel-branded solution," Jain said. "This is our first version, but as upgrades come you'll see more contextual and vertical integration with other security pieces that Intel and McAfee have."
From a competitive perspective, managing cloud based identity access control is not a new idea. Symantec launched its O3 Cloud Identity and Access Control solution earlier this year. The Symantec solution can similarly federate with on-premise identity stores.
Intel Cloud SSO is licensed as an annual, per-user subscription, with available multi-year discounts. Pricing starts at less than $10 per user/per month and goes down depending on the number of users and subscription length.