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April - 2008 - issue > Company Spotlight
RSA Securing an emerging market
Vimali Swamy
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Year 2007 saw the maximum number of security breaches, in spite of massive spends by enterprises on securing information. Another interesting survey question revealed that chief information security officers (CISOs) fear internal breaches a lot more than attacks by external sources. Hence, it is no surprise that enterprises have made information security the numer uno priority in their IT expenditure for 2008. Identifying the rising demand for enterprise security, the engineers at the India center of RSA Security strive day after day to build effective security solutions.

With more people using the Internet for day-to-day activities like banking, healthcare, insurance and booking tickets, critical private information is under an unprecedented threat. Information has been exploding like never before and securing it is getting cumbersome day–by-day. “The need of the hour is to have information centric focus – what and how much information is accessed by partners, customers, and employees need to be monitored,” explains Niranjan Maka, Sr. Director - India Development Center, RSA Security (the Security Division of EMC). Keeping this in mind, the company has offerings around Securing Enterprise Data, Securing Employee Access, Secure Partner Access, and Secure Customer Access such that information accessed by a user depends on his access rights.

It is in this context of information centric focus that RSA talks about the need for looking at storage and security in a cohesive fashion. The EMC-RSA merger in 2006 allowed RSA to combine its security solutions with the EMC storage lines, giving it an edge to compete with the larger vendors in the changing threatscape.

While the engineers at the India center are working towards new solutions, they are also closely watching the changing landscape in India and exploring opportunities for RSA to have a play in this emerging market. One such opportunity is federation, which is quite prevalent in developed markets. To make use of the market scope in federation, RSA developed the Federated Identity Manager (FIM).

“A federated identity is a single user identity that can be used to access a group of websites bound by the ties of federation,” explains Maka. Without federated identity, users are forced to manage different credentials for every site they use. This collection of IDs and passwords becomes difficult to manage and control over time, offering inroads for identity theft. Federated identity management builds on a trust relationship established between an organization and a person. For example, a user purchasing books via an online bookseller can use the same electronic identity to buy music CDs from another online store without having to establish credentials again. The federated identity offers businesses, governments, employees, and consumers a more convenient and secure way of accessing distributed domains without losing control over sensitive identity information. However, federation as a concept has not taken off in India yet, and spreading awareness of such a system could be a big opportunity for RSA in India.

Evolving Partnerships
India has a large number of system integrators and RSA has found it strategic to partner with them to reach out to new customers. “India based System Integrators are entities who have been pushing solutions out to most of the Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Hence, we are engaging with them to position solutions and services that are tailored to customer needs,” says Maka.

Innovating from India
Engineers at RSA acknowledge the emergence of new India wherein enterprises are deploying cutting edge technology solutions in their ambition to go global. Therefore, the launch of the India Development Center (IDC) in 2006 gave them an upper hand in understanding the customer needs. To become sensitive to the customer needs, the engineers here work hand in hand with the pre-sales and customer support teams when engaged in product development. These efforts are nascent but have borne fruit in a couple of interesting wins.

RSA has also given the engineers at the India center the complete ownership of the solutions developed by them, a strategy to foster entrepreneurship among them. The India center will also release several other products and solutions in coming months for both the Indian and the global markets,” quips Maka.

The India center today not only has the challenge of being highly innovative but also being proactive in understanding the customer and market needs and positioning appropriate solutions. To develop such a market leadership the company requires highly competent engineers in terms of both technology and knowledge of market trends. “While recruiting new talent, we try to rope in people who share a like-minded attitude with entrepreneurial spirit and commitment. They should have passion not only for technology but also innovation,” says Maka.

Talking about the employee culture, RSA India’s HR Manager Madhavi Tellakula explains, “Our culture encourages engineers to be not just team players but also to understand the needs of our business, the customers, and the products.” This year the company plans to double its headcount in India and also increasingly leverage EMC’s learning and development infrastructure offerings to help its employees grow their career and aspirations in-house. “Over the last year we have been hiring individuals for senior positions in our R&D center and now we also have a robust college program in place to encourage young engineers who have a passion for security technology,” says Madhavi.

This year is pivotal for the company, as it not only hopes to focus on end-to-end product development for business but also to make RSA India an exciting place to work for. Going by the increasing number of enterprises on the look out for effective security solutions which suit their business needs, RSA India has chalked out a well-defined road map to constantly innovate and bring out a wide range of business critical security solutions. Considering the roadmap coupled with their highly talented resource pool, RSA’s goal to gain a strong foothold in the Indian market does not seem to be a distant dream.

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