A conversation with Centrify and Idaptive on their future plans

Centrify will continue with privileged access management; Idaptive will do IDaaS. They say it makes sense since the two businesses market to different buyers.

In October, we learned that identity management vendor Centrify is planning to split its business into two pieces: Centrify will continue to focus on privileged access management, while a new company, Idaptive, will focus on identity as a service (IDaaS).

Earlier this summer, Centrify itself was acquired by investment firm Thoma Bravo, which will continue to own both companies. The split goes into effect on January 1, 2019; right now the new Idaptive website comprises a countdown clock, a blog, and social media links.

I was curious to get more details, so I spoke to the leadership of both companies on a joint call.

Tim Steinkopf, the current CFO of Centrify, will become CEO, and Danny Kibel, who is VP of engineering and operations for Centrify’s IDaaS division, will become CEO of Idaptive. Outgoing Centrify CEO and co-founder Tom Kemp will be a strategic advisor to both companies.

As identity management products, the two companies certainly have a lot in common, so the first question is how the two are really different.

Idaptive will do all the end user computing-oriented identity tasks we’ve been writing about for the last few years, such as federation for SaaS apps, multi-factor authentication, and working on the latest trends like device and behavior-aware conditional access.

Privileged access management is something that we’ve never talked about here on BrianMadden.com, so that alone should be a good sign that we’re really talking about two different categories of products. It has to do with controlling access to servers, infrastructure, cloud platforms, DevOps, and the like. In other words, it’s all in the server room.

What will be actually shared or split between the companies?

Both companies will focus on “zero-trust” identity concepts—that’s just the state of the art for any identity products these days. Privileged access management has an end-user element to it, as well.

This—along with the fact that each company will have their own full stack of back office functions like accounting, HR, and support for sales and marketing—made me wonder if it might be more efficient to stay together.

But Centrify, Idaptive, and Thoma Bravo believe they can better serve their customers with two separate, more narrowly-focused companies, and obviously they’re committed to it.

Tim and Danny told me that only about 20% of Centrify’s current customers will be customers of both Centrify and Idaptive after the split, another indicator that we’re really talking about two different markets here.

There will be some platform code and intellectual property that goes to both companies, but from here here on out, they’re each on their own. The team told me that ownership of Centrify’s patents was pretty easy to split up, based on which product they applied to.

Lastly, they’re taking Centrify’s office in Santa Clara and splitting it half, so look for the new Idaptive sign if you’re in the area. To Idaptive, see you in 2019!

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