Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

EMC Nabs Aveksa, a Player in Identity Management

Tech giant EMC made an interesting acquisition today that is likely to increase attention not on itself, but on another company in the same space.

EMC said today that it had acquired Aveksa, a privately held company that specializes in identity management. It’s based in Waltham, Mass., and has significant operations in India. First reports of the deal came from the Times of India, which said EMC paid $225 million. Aveksa will become part of RSA, the security division of EMC.

I had never heard of Aveksa before today, but its customers include Daimler Financial Services, Deutsche Bank and Bell Helicopter, so that’s something.

But the company I’m thinking of that will come under an increasing amount of attention is Okta, the identity management solution founded by Todd McKinnon, a former executive at, and backed by several venture capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Floodgate.

Apparently, McKinnon was onto something when he got into the business of helping companies manage all their user credentials and access privileges to applications in the cloud and throughout the enterprise. It wasn’t so long ago that Salesforce said it would be getting into the same business. I asked McKinnon about that at the time, and he said he liked the idea of a new competitor. I haven’t heard back from him today about the notion of EMC becoming a competitor.

The combination of Aveksa within the RSA portfolio certainly makes a lot of sense. RSA specializes in authentication: It makes those little digital dongles you occasionally see on keyrings flashing a constantly changing set of numbers that act as a second password.

Martin Kuppinger, an analyst with the firm of KuppingerCole, wrote in a blog post on the deal today that “the combination of RSA and Aveksa is, by the way, the only one in the market where strong authentication and IAG come together in one vendor. That will allow creating Access Governance for risk- and context-based authentication and authorization, the next big trend in IT.”

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