Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quest Brings The Experts Conference to Europe

Registration has opened for The Experts Conference (TEC) Europe 2009. Formerly called the Directory Experts Conference (DEC), TEC Europe is an important international training event focused on advancing the skills of the most experienced users of Microsoft Identity and Access (IDA) and Microsoft Exchange Server technologies.

TEC Europe for Directory & Identity 2009 will provide advanced education on business-critical IDA technologies, including Active Directory, Forefront Lifecycle Manager (formerly Identity Lifecycle Manager), and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). Identity without Borders: Bringing the Identity Meta System into the Enterprise will serve as the theme and centerpiece for TEC Europe 2009 for Directory & Identity.

I personally am looking forward to this show - it's in Berlin!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Two-factor authentication, two promotions

We have a couple of promotions running at the moment for our Quest Defender product. The first one allows you to register for a token and once you receive it you can try it out on a web page that enters you to win an XBox360. The second promotion is for a "free Defender starter pack" which is 5 hardware tokens, 5 software tokens and a 10 user license valid for one year. Just head over to if you'd like to take advantage of that offer.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Sun sets on Oracle

Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) and Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL) announced today they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun common stock for $9.50 per share in cash. The transaction is valued at approximately $7.4 billion, or $5.6 billion net of Sun's cash and debt.
Talk about a dog's breakfast of identity management products now! I wonder how this will all work out for the customers? Oracle has been getting high marks from the analysts so will the Sun IDM suite go by the wayside? Or, will this only mean confusion for the next 18-36 months? Or both?!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reality tour stopover in Paris

The reality tour is taking up temporary residence in the 1er arrondissement in Paris just down the street from the musée du Louvre. Just follow the arrow above to find me - after work of course - either at the "Brasserie de la Bourse" or across the street at "Le Café des Initiés" (with its "accès Wi-Fi gratuit et très performant est disponible en permanence" - yah baby!).

You can follow our personal adventure on my wife's blog over here. In the meantime, hopefully I can keep the baguette crumbs, cheese droppings and slopped wine from gumming up my keyboard.

Back to our regularly scheduled program next week...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TEC presentations now available

The TEC 2009 presentations are available for download. In order to access them, we ask that you complete the TEC 2009 delegate survey.

Here's how to do it:
  • Upon completing the survey, you will be automatically redirected to a login page.
  • Use the password "tec2009slides" to access the presentations. Remember to bookmark this page for future reference.
And, be sure to visit The Experts Community, launched during TEC. This online community is an extension of TEC and was designed to help you find answers, locate reference materials and share knowledge with peers and colleagues. If you join the community before June 1, you will be entered to win a Rock Band 2 set with guitar, drum set and microphone!

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What is Microsoft doing to add Java support to Azure?

This is the title of a post by Mary-Jo Foley over at her "All About Microsoft" blog. She starts off the post...
I was curious what Microsoft’s response would be to Google’s recent announcement that is allowing developers writing for the Google App Engine cloud platform to develop in Java. The answer? Not much that company officials haven’t said before.
I think that's a great question Mary-Jo. In fact, I wondered myself and came to a couple of conclusions:

  1. The only commercial interest to develop Java support for Azure would be Microsoft themselves. I'm doubtful anyone else would do it. Most commercial developers - like Quest - know that they can't make money by developing APIs. Would the open source community develop the Java tools and APIs to support Azure? I guess anything is possible - maybe if Microsoft paid someone (Schakra?).

  2. If Microsoft were to do something would you (e.g., the software developer) trust what they delivered? This is the company that tried to kill Java and has a competing technology to Java. Even if they paid an outside developer or the open source community there would always be that "doubt" sitting out there. Also, if you're going to develop something in Java for the cloud why not simply use Google?
In order to really get traction Microsoft has to eliminate as many barriers to adoption as they can. I guess time will tell with respect to both what Microsoft does and how the community adopts Java/Azure.

Follow-up: I'm not sure why I didn't notice it initially but the guys at Schakra do have a Java SDK for Azure. Shout-out to my friend Anil Balakrishnan who I used to work with at Microsoft who is now with Schakra!
Schakra built a Java SDK for .NET Services. Java web services built on Metro (open source web services stack that runs on Glassfish from Sun Microsystems) can be easily hosted on the .NET Services infrastructure by using the jdotnetservices SDK (Java SDK for .NET Services). Java clients can also easily consume the services hosted in .NET Services infrastructure. This is achieved by providing a custom transport extension for the metro framework. Services and clients can be developed and can be enabled to interoperate with the .NET Services infrastructure with minimal changes.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Entrust goes private

From SC Magazine earlier today:

April 13, 2009 - Private equity firm to acquire Entrust

Entrust, provider of enterprise authentication and digital signature solutions, announced Monday that it has agreed to be acquired for $114 million.

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo has agreed to buy out Entrust, but the Dallas-based company said it can consider other proposals for the next 30 days.

News of the deal comes as Entrust also announced Monday that its first-quarter sales were down 12 percent from last year's first-quarter total of $25.8 million.

But the NASDAQ-listed firm, which is trading more than 50 percent off its highs from last year, expects to post a first-quarter profit this year of $1.7 million, or 3 cents per share. The company posted losses of $1.2 million for the same period last year.

Bill Conner, president and CEO of Entrust, said the company was weighing its options amid a turbulent economy that was not friendly to a public company with revenue of less than $100 million a year.

"In a small company, those risks keep escalating in a bad market," he told on Monday. "If you miss one [quarter of Wall Street estimates] you get severely penalized for several quarters."

The acquisition, meanwhile, will enable Entrust to focus more on developing products related to to risk-based authentication, fraud detection, PKI and SSL certificates, the company claims.

"We will work closely with Entrust's management team and employees to deliver increased value for customers and enhanced growth of the business," Seth Boro, principal of Thoma Bravo, said in a statement.

Thoma Bravo has acquired about 38 other software companies, which earn a combined $600 million annually. Entrust would be the first security-specific purchase.

"They'll be looking for other companies in the security space to acquire and combine with ours," Conner said. "We'd become the platform for them to grow and scale with in security."

Entrust employs fewer than 400 people. Some of those may get laid off as the company transitions from public to private, Conner said.

Entrust would not be the first security company to be absorbed by a private investment firm. Earlier this year, Aladdin Knowledge Systems was acquired by Vector Capital for $160 million. Its offerings will be integrated into SafeNet, which was picked up by Vector for $634 million two years earlier.
I'm not surprised, frankly. Despite the fact that Entrust was an Ottawa-based company I was never a big fan of them or their products - just check out my last post about these guys. It will be really, really interesting to see what happens to their PKI and smartcard/OTP business now. I'm not guessing the new owners are showing up to make big investments in additional help and paying big retention bonuses so I expect they're will be a lot of folks looking for a seat in the lifeboats...

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Two-factor authentication for the Apple iPhone

Our iPhone Defender "iToken" is now available for free download from the Apple store. If you happen to be using an OATH compliant strong authentication system (e.g., Gemalto's Protiva, Arcot's WebFort, ActiveIdentity) or, of course Quest's Defender, then you can use our iToken at no cost.

Isn't interoperability great?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Identity Management = Flocks of Perl Scripts?

In March I logged a pile of miles visiting customers and talking to them about identity management, our strategy and business in general. A few quotes that I wrote down from my trips to Columbus, Washington, New York City, Toronto and Ottawa are below...

I really don't think that a flock of 1000 Perl scripts all trying to fly in formation is "identity management".

Well, I can't help but agree with that. Have we progressed that little over the last 15 years?

We have over 300,000 groups (distribution lists, security groups) scattered across our company. Forget about "managing" them! I'd simply like to know if they are even being used let alone what for!!

What can I say? Many IAM vendors are not adopting lifecycle considerations to the concept of "groups". There are so many customers out there that have this problem in Windows alone - forget about adding in Unix or, Heaven forbid, RACF!

Active Directory is quickly becoming the center of our galaxy.

This does not surprise me.

Reducing credential burden is one of my top two priorities. The other is disaster recovery.

This comment came from an assistant CTO at a large company. It was telling in the sense that there was an explicit acknowledgment that password management, password synchronization, password reset and everything associated with passwords was just costing this company too much. They are truly seeking the Holy Grail - single sign-on - as a means to reducing this burden (cost).

Did I tell you we have no money to spend? Unless you can show me substantive ROI in under one year -or- you help be close an audit issue.

Actually, I heard this a number of times from customers while I was on my roadtrip. Customers have money - they just don't want to spend it unless the value (ROI, compliance) is there and obvious. I can't help but understand and agree. As I've said in the past, this is not the (economic) time for rocket science.

My thanks to all those who met with me over the last few weeks. I managed to squeeze in as many customer meetings at the TEC 2009 conference in Las Vegas as I did while I was on the road. That was nice - all I had to do was move from one conference room to the other - no planes involved!

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