IBM buys access control and identity management firm CrossIdeas

With CrossIdeas, IBM is gaining auditing tools for policing segregation-of-duties violations across disparate systems

IBM has added to its security software portfolio with the purchase of Italian access control and identity management firm CrossIdeas for an undisclosed sum, the companies said Thursday.

The company, already an IBM partner, provides tools to ensure that users can only access the applications and data permitted under corporate governance, regulatory compliance and business process rules, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

One use for the tools is to enforce so-called segregation of duty controls, which ensure that staff are not given the power to police their own actions. As an example of how such rules might be violated, IBM cited a stock trader who, following a promotion, gains the power to approve trades while retaining the ability to enter trades from the previous role -- and thus becoming able to conceal illicit trades from superiors. The CrossIdeas software can help auditors and managers to detect or correct such rules violations.

The CrossIdeas software must be integrated with other systems, but the company provides some vendor-specific tools for simplifying this. For instance, it offers a special SAP version of its Access Risk Controls tools, which polices segregation-of-duties violations, while a partnership signed earlier this month with U.S. company Stealthbits extended the capabilities of business units to manage access to unstructured data stored on Microsoft SharePoint servers or in server file systems without intervention from central IT departments. IBM's Security Identity Manager is also among the identity and access repositories that CrossIdeas' software can integrate into its dashboards.

CrossIdeas will become part of IBM's security systems division. It was formed three years ago as a management buy-out when the developers of the Ideas software acquired it from its developer, Engiweb. The companies did not say whether this would involve CrossIdeas' staff, based in Rome, moving to another location.

IBM noted that it has acquired more than a dozen companies to build its security business over the last 10 years. The span of their activities is broad: The most recent addition was Web anti-malware company Trusteer, acquired in August 2013.

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Tags business issuesIBMCrossIdeassecurityMergers and acquisitions

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Peter Sayer

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