Data security firm introduces ‘zero trust’ software to PH

CENTRIFY GOES TO PH. Dan Mountstephen, Centrify’s regional vice president for the Asia Pacific and Japan, introduces their ‘zero trust’ privileged access management (PAM) software in a roundtable discussion with the media in Makati City on Sept. 24, 2019. He said their PAM service not only includes a cyber-vault for storing passwords, but also includes multi-factor authentication of its users and granting least privilege access to lessen a company’s susceptability to data breaches. (PNA photo by Raymond Carl Dela Cruz)

MANILA – Centrify, a world leader in data security, on Tuesday introduced for the first time its “zero trust” privileged access management (PAM) software for enterprising Filipino businesses.

Dan Mountstephen, a 20-year veteran in the IT industry and Centrify’s regional vice president for the Asia Pacific and Japan, introduced the new service in a roundtable discussion with the media in Makati City after the company’s launch in the country a little more than three months ago.

Mountstephen said most other PAM vendors—those who provide services which control or limit access to company data—usually start and finish with the creation of a cyber-vault which stores identities and passwords for secure access to company data.

However, he said such a vault is only half of the story in securing company data—the other half is granting the least possible access to those who request it and guaranteeing their identity through multi-factor authentication.

“There would be an approval check–yes, Dan does need to access the webserver. Maybe I request access for eight hours. Because I don’t know when I want to do that work for the day. And you’re my supervisor and you would say, Dan, I think you could probably get that work done in an hour. So, you would allow access for an hour and then take that privilege away,” Mountstephen said.

He said limiting such access through privilege and time constraints allows for a more secure data environment by lessening the “attack window”.

“Depending on how you choose to set the policies up within the organization. You can limit access to a particular service or to a particular subset,” Mountstephen said.

Aside from such features, he said Centrify also records the use of its software—including keystrokes—which in the case of a data breach, would allow for a quick investigation.

“After the event, we want to be able to look and see exactly what we did and have a full audit trail,” Mountstephen said.

He said their services are available for all enterprises which require PAM, especially those looking to move their services into the cloud computing, the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user.

“I don’t think any vertical (market) is immune, unfortunately, from privileged account abuse. But typically, organizations that are looking to move some of its services into the cloud—they would be suitable candidates,” Mountstephen said.

Since the launching, he said they expect the adoption of their pioneering PAM service in the Philippines to be high since Filipino consumers are aware of threats posed by data breaches through information campaigns by the National Privacy Commission and other government agencies.

“I think Filipino consumers are very aware of some of the threats within the market here–they’re very cautious to keep that data secure. We applaud the work the local government has done here in promoting privacy,” Mountstephen said.

Centrify, a company founded in 2014 and owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo since 2018, is the only PAM vendor, as of May 2019, to have achieved the United States’ Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) authorization, a qualification to sell cloud technology solutions to US government agencies.

Mountstephen added their company is a leader in all three current major reports for privilege management–Gartner Magic Quadrant for PAM (Q1-2018), Forrester Wave: PAM (Q4-2018), and Kupperingcole Leadership Compass for PAM (Q1-2019). Raymond Carl Dela Cruz/PNA-