Ping ups the ante on identity and access management

Identity management: seemingly boring, but still with scope for innovation.

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Only a few months ago the news broke that Vista Equity Partners had acquired identity management vendor Ping Identity for around $600 million. The private equity buyout is one which, in these IPO-constrained times, has seen increasing interest. With the sale, eyes turned toward Ping to see how it would deliver the growth and quick wins that its new overlords would, no doubt, demand.

Ping had already seen good traction -- it claims half of the Fortune 100 as customers and has such marques as Boeing, Cisco, Disney, GE, Kraft Foods, TIAA and Walgreens on its books. But private equity wants more, and so the pressure was on Ping to deliver.

We didn't have to wait long with the news that Ping was acquiring UnboundID and integrating the access management vendor's tools into its own platform. Now the fruits of that integration are being harvested with the announcement of new platform capabilities directly resulting from the UnboundID integration.

And finding good solutions to the uniquely modern challenges of identity and access management isn't easy. Forrester recently pointed out the tension between two contrary aims, saying, "Security and risk pros often struggle to find the right balance between a seamless customer experience and good security. The unique requirements of customer identity, especially scale, performance, usability and support for seamless multichannel interactions, have necessitated the development of CIAM as its own market segment with competitive offerings distinct from traditional solutions for employee IAM."

CIAM (consumer identity access management) is a key recognition of the fact that organizations are becoming more porous and that organizations need to think not only of employees but also of consumers within the broader identity management context. CIAM, the notion of running consumer identity and access management from the cloud, is a key strategy for ensuring these tensions are best balanced.

Running from the cloud is a key way to ensure the lightest possible touch, but in a context-appropriate way. Essentially, CIAM enables identity vendors and end-user organizations alike to adopt identity platforms that "learn" over time.

"Customer identity and access management has a different set of challenges than the more traditional IAM market, which was built for employee access management," said Andre Durand, CEO and founder, Ping Identity.

In terms of functionality, the new Ping platform offers single sign-on, multifactor authentication, social login and adaptive authentication capabilities. Specific product highlights include:

  • Ping Directory & Data Server securely stores and manages customer identities and unified customer profiles that are crucial to driving multichannel engagement and improved customer experience. Designed to store rich profile data, the Ping Directory & Data Server supports structured and unstructured data, modern protocols, includes developer-friendly REST APIs, and dramatically lowers total cost of ownership (TCO) relative to legacy directory server products.

  • Ping Data Sync Server keeps identity and profile data synchronized across diverse data sources, both on-premises and in the cloud, to ensure identity data and customer profiles are up to date in real-time for consistent multichannel engagement. The product is used to migrate identity data off costly legacy directory server products so they can be retired, and also to sync production identity data to testing and staging environments while protecting personally identifiable information (PII) and passwords.

  • Ping Data Governance Server provides customers convenience and enhances loyalty and trust by giving them the freedom to self-manage their profiles, preferences and privacy choices. The Ping Data Governance Server manages and governs access to sensitive customer data for apps, employees and partners with centralized policy controls and secure REST APIs, as well as features for delegated account administration.


Identity management is going to be an increasingly complex area which spans internal-employee, external-contractor and customer/consumer access alike. This release is a good step in that direction and should provide some more growth for those voracious private equity demands.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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