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RSA-Microsoft partnership adds DLP to Active Directory

Under the partnership, solution providers can integrate RSA DLP Suite 6.5 with Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services.

RSA partners say they're excited about the possibilities of a new RSA-Microsoft partnership announced this week.

Under the RSA-Microsoft partnership, solution providers can integrate RSA DLP Suite 6.5 -- which ships later this month -- with Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services for customers. The integration of RSA's data loss prevention (DLP) expertise at the directory level will make it easier for VARs to set up systems that proactively manage data access and enforce the directory's policies, the companies said.

The RSA-Microsoft partnership marks an evolution of DLP, said Andrew Plato, president of Anitian Enterprise Security, a Beaverton, Ore.-based RSA partner.

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"The DLP market is fairly new," he said. "It's gone through its infancy, and … it does make sense to integrate this at the Active Directory, information management layer."

Most existing DLP solutions focus on detecting leaks, but not stopping them, Plato said. But integrating the RSA DLP Suite with Microsoft Active Directory will let customers enforce their policies regarding access to sensitive information -- even data in Microsoft Word or Excel files.

"In a lot of organizations, that's where the sensitive data is," Plato said.

Despite the new RSA-Microsoft partnership, Microsoft partners will still be responsible for selling Active Directory Rights Management Services, and RSA partners will take care of selling DLP Suite 6.5. The two vendors are educating their partners on the value of combining the two and also setting up a referral system for partners, said Tom Corn, RSA's vice president of product management and marketing for data security.

Plato said that's a good system, as long as the two vendors handle it correctly.

"A fair number of RSA partners are probably Microsoft partners," he said. "The reverse of that is probably not true. … My hope is that Microsoft and RSA will be driving this to existing partners. My fear is that RSA will sign up 8,000 new partners, and we'll have thousands of new partners in our area."

Tim Richardson, security product marketing manager for Akibia, a Westborough, Mass.-based RSA partner, said he doesn't expect that to be a problem. It takes a skilled solution provider to deploy DLP, so Microsoft and RSA would be hurting themselves by driving business to unqualified partners, he said.

"For a DLP solution to be deployed, it takes a level of sophistication to do it successfully," he added. "There are a lot of hurdles to overcome in implementation."

Akibia is also a Microsoft partner, but the company only sells Microsoft services, not products. Richardson said he expects the RSA-Microsoft partnership to drive new business.

"This hits the sweet spot for us," he said.

Microsoft and RSA pursued the partnership to address customers' growing concerns about regulatory compliance, said JG Chirapurath, Microsoft's director of identity and security.

"We're all facing more and more regulating, and the burden of facing those regulations is becoming very complicated and very expensive," he said. "The current solutions were far too complex and far too costly."

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