MPA developing authentication, encryption in cloud with SafeNet

MPA developing authentication, encryption in cloud with SafeNet

Will keys in the cloud open new doors for resellers? Eventually

Data protection provider SafeNet has made three announcements recently that according to the vendor’s local distributor, MPA, could mean opportunity for smaller resellers.

But the company's Tier 1 integrators will be the ones to build the service into their IaaS offerings, first.

SafeNet’s solutions obviate the need for end-user organisations to store keys on hardware appliances on-premise, a cost-prohibitive proposition for some companies.

Now, with the vendor’s Authentication-as-a-Service rolling out in the ANZ market, and the subsequent Crypto Hypervisor debut, SafeNet and its distributor MPA anticipate a trickle-down effect in New Zealand.

“We are seeing interest when we get to the regions with the smaller organisations there that have the same encryption requirements as their larger counterparts,” says Mark Mickelfield, MPA’s general manager for consultants. “But it’s through the Tier 1s where we’re seeing the initial interest.”

End users have also traditionally come from verticals where data-encryption is mandated for regulatory and statutory compliance reasons. But by moving hardware requirements off-premise to IaaS providers, MPA and SafeNet believe opportunities could open up beyond government, banking and finance end users.

“What we’ve seen around the hardware security module portfolio is the customer base has been finance and government, and typcially the large government organisation that requires it as best practice,” says Mickelfield. “So this opens up doors for service providers to offer that as a service to the smaller agencies who could not traditionally afford it in the back end in their own right.”

“So it extends the reach to those traditional markets and starts to extend it out to other markets like retail and utilities that do need to start improving data security.”

MPA’s focus on Tier 1 resellers and their clients means the natural progression starts with them. But Mickelfield says the technology “absolutely will trickle down”.

“If you look around the country there are many resellers that are dedicated to a region and they service the large organisations in that region all the way down to SMBs,” he says. “It does start with the large organisations. Once that is up and running that service, they can push that capability down.”

From SafeNet’s perspective, that is already the case on a global scale. The vendor’s technology is behind AWS’s CloudHSM offering for protecting cryptographic keys used for encryption.

“Choice is driving things,” says Vince Lee, ANZ regional director for Safenet.

“Whether it’s in a private cloud or in the public cloud, if that’s local or a AWS, the important thing is people are across this ability to maintain control over their data.”

But even the CloudHSM still reportedly costs US$5,000 to provision (or $1,373 a month on average, with other costs added in), and with no AWS datacentre in country, it is most likely not an option for end users that must comply with data sovereignty regulations in New Zealand.

“The primary mechanism for this as a service is taking shape,” says Mickelfield. “It’s really only been in the last few months we’ve been engaged in encryption and that’s with those big integrators all seeing interest. It’s just early days.”

In the meantime, there may be more immediate opportuntities for resellers bringing authentication as a service to market, as the continuing rise of mobility in the workplace has increased demand for strong authentication.

“As BYOD takes shape, you want to be sure that the person using that device is the one that’s authorised to come in,” says Micklefield. “ Authentication-as a service just simplifies the operational aspects and takes that cost down to nothing. “

According to SC Magazine, an IT security trade publication, the cloud authenication solution starts at US$4 per user per month for a one-year contract using a software phone-based token.

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