Identity management company Centrify raises $42 million

Steven Loeb · May 20, 2014 · Short URL:

The new funding came from Samsung, Fortinet and Docomo

Centrify Corporation, a provider of Unified Identity Services, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $42 million in new funding from strategic investors Samsung Ventures, Fortinet Inc. and Docomo Capital. 

The company, which has also received funding in the past from investors that include Mayfield, Accel Partners, INVESCO Private Capital, Sigma West and Index Ventures, has now raised roughly $94 million in total funding.

Centrify provides security and ID management products for the enterprise, in order to allow them to manage how their systems are accessed, by allowing them to work under a unified IT infrastructure. It also provides customers with mobile device management.

That means that Centrify's customers can have control over who can and cannot access which servers, as well as can keep records of who accessed what. Its enable single sign-on, role-based access control, privileged identity management, multi-factor authentication, auditing and compliance.

By using Centrify, the company says that its customers are typically able to reduce their total cost of identity management and compliance by more than half.

When the company first started, back in 2004, it was used specifically to allow companies on Linux servers to be able to manage their identity management information, separately from Microsoft machines, Centrify CMO Mark Weiner told me in an interview.

"You would log into your PC and be able to access all apps that were Microsoft based," he said. "Linux was growing big time in the early 2000s, and they needed a way to manage their usernames and passwords separately from Microsoft machines."

It made accessing that information more efficient, and allowed companies control things better, plus it was more secure and less expensive, he said. All of that information was still all held on premises at the time, though. 

In the last four to five years, however, things have changed in the space. The big trend recently has been toward software as a service (SaaS) apps, like Workday, Salesforce and Marketo. And with the rise of cloud apps, as well as the bring your own device (BYOD) movement, a whole new set of challenges has arisen, with more and more data being taken off premises.

Because of that, Centrify has also moved onto allowing its enterprise customers to have access to identity management both on, and off, premises, as well as on apps they do not own. No other company offers both of those, and that makes Centrify the only company in the space to offer identity management services across all platforms.

Identity management is going to the next big movement in the security space, Weiner said.

"We've seen that security has been hot, with companies like Fireye and Palo Alto Networks going public," he told me. "Identity has not been as visible within security but it is a hot area and it  should be next area of security to watch."

And it is only going to become more important as more and more devices get cloud-based Internet access.

"We see identity becoming more and more critical," Weiner said, especially with the rise of the Internet of Things, or the idea of equipping sensors to every object to connect them to the Internet. The idea of knowing what each device is, and knowing whether or not you can trust it to both have access to, and to send you, information, that is what identity management is all about.

Centrify is now used by more than 5,000 global customers, including roughly half of the Fortune 50 and more than 60 Federal agencies, with more than 1 million servers and devices deployed worldwide.

The new money will be used to fast track development of the software, as well as to make a global push into areas like Asia and Latin America.

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