Bringing Identity and Access Management (IAM) to Machines

Venafi: Bringing Identity and Access Management (IAM) to Machines

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Identity and access management, or IAM, has been a focus of cyber security experts and solution vendors for years. However, that focus has been almost exclusively on IT users. Now, with new funding, a vendor focused on bringing IAM principles to machines will soon expand its efforts and market presence.

On November 29, machine identity protection provider Venafi announced the closing of a $100-million round of financing. The lead investor is TCV, early backers of such companies as Airbnb, Netflix, Splunk, and Spotify. TCV was joined in this funding round by previous Venafi investors QuestMark Partners and NextEquity Partners.

Venafi plans to use the funding to grow its leadership in its primary market. To this end, $12.5 million of the investment will be used to launch what Venafi calls the Machine Identity Protection Development Fund. The fund is intended to “accelerate the integration of machine identity intelligence into a wide range of machines in the enterprise,” Venafi said in a statement.

Why Machine Identity Management Matters

User IDs and passwords are widely used to authenticate legitimate IT users and reject unauthorized access attempts. However, rigorous authentication of the devices across an IT estate is inconsistent at best. This presents significant cyber security challenges, which are growing thanks to multiple trends, including cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Venafi platform uses cryptographic keys, digital certificates, and other methods to authenticate and secure machine-to-machine connections and remediate challenges automatically. Trusted machines are defined by business goals and needs, and prevented from communicating with untrusted machines, improving security and reducing risk.

Venafi: Poised for Growth

Venafi claims to hold more than 30 patents, and to have as clients four of the top five banks in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and South Africa. The company says its solutions are also used by the top five health insurers, the top five airlines, and four of the top five retailers in the U.S. The company is clearly experienced in helping improve cyber security for some of the most risk-averse industries and companies in the world. This latest round of funding should result in greater awareness of the need for machine identity protection, and more solutions from more enterprise IT solution providers.

Machine identity and access management is clearly a space worth watching. With this latest funding, Venafi could spur the growth and development of a significant element of the complex, ever-evolving cyber security ecosystem. Which makes Venafi a company worth watching, too.

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Michael Dortch

Michael Dortch has more than four decades of information technology industry experience as an analyst, journalist, consultant, and marketer. He is currently a Senior Strategist for Huawei USA. In that role, he is focused on helping a world-class team tell more and better stories about how a world-class company helps world-class customers and partners connect and succeed.