Centrify Introduces Mobile Authentication Services

Centrify is also enabling developers of cloud, mobile, and SaaS-based offerings to take advantage of Centrify’s Mobile Authentication Services

October 26, 2012

6 Min Read


SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Oct. 23, 2012 -- Centrify Corporation, the leading provider of security and compliance solutions that centrally control, secure and audit access to on-premise and cloud-based systems, mobile devices and applications, today announced it has extended its cloud-based mobile security offering to include Mobile Authentication Services (MAS) that deliver "Zero Sign-On" Active Directory-based authentication for mobile applications to cloud services.

This announcement follows Centrify's release earlier this year of its solution for Active Directory Group Policy-based management of mobile devices to enable Mobile Device Management (MDM). With today's announcement, Centrify is now making available the other major service provided by Active Directory -- authentication -- and seamlessly extending it to mobile devices and applications, making Centrify the only vendor to offer both integrated MDM and MAS.

As part of this announcement, Centrify is also enabling developers of cloud, mobile and SaaS-based offerings to take advantage of Centrify's Mobile Authentication Services by utilizing Centrify's MAS Software Development Kit (MAS SDK), as well as introducing the Centrify Mobile Technology Partner Program. To further facilitate adoption of Centrify's vision for Active Directory-based mobile authentication, the Centrify MAS SDK will be available as an integration to Appcelerator's Titanium mobile application development platform (see accompanying Centrify press release issued today titled "Centrify and Appcelerator Partner to Deliver Mobile Authentication Services for Titanium Studio-Powered Mobile Applications").

"Allowing developers of mobile applications to easily embed Active Directory authentication is an important capability for both enterprise users and IT," said Spencer Chen, senior director of business development at Appcelerator. "With Centrify's new Mobile Authentication Services, organizations can provide the additional security they need while end users get the 'Zero Sign-On' experience they desire."

The rise in mobile device adoption has created challenges that go beyond setting security policies via mobile device management, especially when it comes to security and authentication for users accessing applications. IT organizations have moved toward Single Sign-On (SSO) for traditional desktop systems and applications, but until now there has been no way to fully leverage a ubiquitous infrastructure, such as Active Directory, for mobile devices and native mobile applications in particular. Until today, mobile apps required separate authentication and authorization that were set up in a siloed back-end service, leading to poor security polices as well as user frustration and loss of productivity from having to remember multiple complex passwords in order to meet security requirements. In addition, independent software vendors must ensure security and productivity of mobile applications, but lacked simple, universal mechanisms for adding authentication to their applications.

"Mobile devices need a consistent, standardized software abstraction layer to support different authentication methods across different mobile OSs, and to communicate using open standards specifications to SaaS and enterprise access systems," said Gregg Kreizman, Gartner research VP, et al. "SaaS vendors must build a complementary capability into resident mobile applications (RMAs) to support the application redirection to the enterprise authentication service."1

The Industry Need for Mobile Authentication

According to the Gartner report "The Evolving Intersection of Mobile Computing and Authentication," two categories of mobile device applications exist. The first is the mobile Web application (MWA). Its technology and protocols are reasonably well understood because the MWA leverages a Web browser for communication with resources...As users demand a richer experience, developers began leveraging the mobile devices' native SDKs to build rich mobile applications (RMAs). The result is reflected in the adoption of RMAs vs WMAs. RMAs represent 65% of deployed mobile device applications.2

Enabled as part of Centrify Cloud Services, the Centrify Mobile Authentication Services and the MAS SDK allow mobile application developers to provide corporate users with a "Zero Sign-On" experience and stronger authentication when accessing applications from their mobile devices, which eliminates the need to remember and re-enter credentials for each mobile app. "Zero Sign-On" goes beyond Single Sign-On for devices enrolled in the Centrify Cloud Service, as users who have enrolled their mobile device in the Centrify Cloud Service are provided a certificate identifying the user of a specific device. Users are then able to use Mobile Apps that integrate with the Centrify MAS SDK to gain seamless access to authorized cloud services upon unlock of the mobile device.

Centrify's new service provides capabilities not found in today's mobile security offerings, yet is also compatible with any MDM solution, including Centrify DirectControl for Mobile, to enable a comprehensive mobile security offering addressing BYOD and mobility in the enterprise. Key benefits of the new service include:

· Developers of multi-tier applications have one simple, high-level API for user authentication, from the mobile device seamlessly through to their existing backend infrastructure;

· Users enjoy a simplified "Zero Sign-On" experience across all their mobile apps;

· IT Security gets stronger authentication tied to the users' unique Active Directory credentials; and

· Organizations gain centralized control of mobile app authentication and authorizations without adding costly new infrastructure.

"Meeting a clear and unmet industry need, Centrify's Mobile Authentication Services puts centralized control of users' mobile access and authorization where it needs to be -- in the hands of IT Teams," said David McNeely, Centrify senior director of product management. "Centrify's MAS SDK allows ISVs to easily integrate their mobile applications with Active Directory for authentication services to cloud and Web services. And users have a simplified mobile access and 'Zero Sign-On' experience that eliminates the need to remember and re-enter their credentials for each mobile app."

Availability and Centrify Mobile Technology Partner Program

Centrify's MAS is currently in beta with availability to qualified partners. With today's announcement, Centrify is also making available the Centrify Mobile Technology Partner Program. This partner program provides free redistribution license grants for the MAS SDK, free usage of the Centrify Cloud Service for developers, as well as community or premium paid support. Developers with premium paid support can also get their mobile applications certified by Centrify. End user organizations deploying MAS-enabled mobile apps can utilize the Centrify Cloud Service for free for up to three mobile applications, and then a monthly per-user charge can apply. For more information, see the Centrify Mobile Authentication Services page.

About Centrify

Centrify delivers integrated software and cloud-based solutions that centrally control, secure and audit access to on-premise and cloud-based systems, mobile devices and applications by leveraging the infrastructure organizations already own -- Microsoft Active Directory. From the data center and into the cloud, more than 4,500 organizations, including 40% of the Fortune 50 and more than 60 Federal agencies, rely on Centrify's identity consolidation and privilege management solutions to reduce IT expenses, strengthen security and meet compliance requirements. For more information about Centrify and its solutions, call (408) 542-7500, or visit http://www.centrify.com/.

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