Access control is, arguably, the key aspect of information protection. We think of access control in several ways. For example, we consider access control as the way into a system. We may also apply it to applications. Overall, access control has some facets that make it effective. The first, of course is I and A – identification and authentication. This tells the object who the subject is and offers proof of identity. Next is authorization. Once the subject is positively identified, the next question to answer is what the subject is allowed to do.
If we add to these fundamental security issues the operational issues of deployment, provisioning and management, we have the core requirements for today's access control products. There are a lot of products that, one way or another, fulfill those requirements. What we were looking for this year were those niche players who have something really special that shows the kind of creativity needed to address current and future access management requirements. To our great surprise, snuggled in with those smaller players with a high ‘cool' quotient, was one of our old favorites, a large company with a wide-ranging reputation in the security space.
This year, we began to see those larger companies. Last year, we were surprised by the presence of one giant, but this year we have more than one large entity. It was good to see these guys – ForeScout – in the game this year. But they were not alone. A once-small company, now gobbled by a giant, was in our access management mix as well. Last year, we had one of those too and they passed into the Hall of Fame. We are predicting big things for this year's access control company taken into a larger player. All indications are that the acquisition is a very good thing for both parties. We like that too.
Overall, we see some major changes in access management and those changes are exemplified by this year's crop of Innovators. New approaches to the fundamentals that make it harder for the bad guys without forgetting what access management is all about – that's what this year's access control Innovators are all about.