Virtualization Technology News and Information
Centrify Introduces CloudTools for Active Directory-Based Access Control for Securing Linux Servers in the Cloud
Centrify Corporation, the leading provider of security and compliance solutions that centrally control, secure and audit cross-platform systems and applications using Active Directory, today at the Red Hat Summit announced Centrify CloudTools, an integrated collection of free tools and enhancements to existing products that lets organizations dynamically apply Active Directory-based authentication and access control to Linux systems running within cloud hosting providers such as Amazon EC2 and the RightScale Cloud Management Platform.

Centrify CloudTools are available for free to customers of Centrify Suite (Centrify's family of licensed software solutions) and are also a new component of Centrify Express 2011 (Centrify's free suite of Active Directory-based integration solutions for UNIX, Linux and Apple Mac OS X systems that offers authentication, single sign-on, remote access, file-sharing, and reporting for cross-platform systems). Used in conjunction with the Centrify Suite or Centrify Express, Centrify CloudTools enable an "enterprise-out" approach that establishes Active Directory as the center of trust between enterprise and cloud servers, whether private or hosted, to make them as secure and compliant as those in an on-premises data center. For more information on Centrify Express 2011, see companion release, Centrify Expands Its Leading, Free Active Directory Integration Solution to Include Cloud Server Support and Splunk Integration."

One of the primary benefits of cloud computing is the dynamic nature of the environment in which compute capacity can scale near infinitely to support the growing demands of the IT organization. However, to manage these cloud-based systems, the security infrastructure must also be automated to allow critical security and compliance policies to be applied consistently as every new system is initialized within a hosted environment. When the Centrify CloudTools are enabled for a newly provisioned Linux server in the cloud, they immediately secure the root account, lock down the server, and join it to the customer's on premises Active Directory domain. In this way, only administrators defined by the licensor of the server, and not the cloud service provider, have access to and control over the server. All access to the server is provided through Active Directory credentials, enabling server activity to be associated with a specific user. Similarly, when a server is terminated from a hosted service, it can automatically be removed from Active Directory.

Centrify CloudTools provide support for a variety of Linux systems running within hosting providers such as Amazon EC2. Key components of Centrify CloudTools include:

  • Centrify RightScripts™ that can be used in RightScale ServerTemplates™ to manage cloud deployments (servers or groups of servers). Using Centrify RightScripts, administrators can deploy any one of the wide selection of operating systems supported by Centrify Express and secure them automatically.
  • A new release of Centrify DirectManage Express that supports cloud systems. Besides managing on-premises servers, this free solution has been enhanced to allow an IT administrator to discover an organization's Linux systems deployed in the cloud, check their readiness to participate within an Active Directory domain, and then deploy and/or upgrade the appropriate Centrify software to these cloud-based servers.
  • A new release of Centrify DirectControl Express that provides a number of enhancements to facilitate cloud server instances to be secured centrally through Active Directory. Capabilities for cloud-based systems include enabling management of local privileged accounts, providing authorized access and single sign-on to Active Directory user accounts and granting root privileges based on Active Directory Group membership. This configuration automatically enforces security best practices designed to help organizations adopt cloud computing more rapidly while mitigating the associated security risks.
  • Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) that include Centrify Express software pre-installed and configured on: Fedora 13, Amazon Linux 1.0, and Ubuntu 10.04.
  • Prescriptive guidance and QuickStart Guides for securing Linux servers deployed in the cloud leveraging an on-premises Active Directory environment.

"We're pleased that Centrify is offering their technology through the RightScale platform. With the addition of Centrify CloudTools, RightScale users can now access the same tools they are used to in their own datacenter," said Josh Fraser, RightScale VP of Business Development. "Centrify is focused on making it easier and safer for organizations to embrace cloud computing."

"Many organizations are facing a Catch-22 when it comes to migrating applications to the cloud," said David McNeely, director of product management for Centrify. "They get the biggest ROI by migrating to the cloud their business-critical apps that need to scale rapidly and on-demand. But these are precisely the applications that need the tightest security and access controls. With our new CloudTools, organizations can automatically and dynamically take control of systems at the moment those systems first boot up. Securing cloud servers at launch time reassures organizations that they will have policies applied to their cloud servers that are consistent with those in their own data center, all managed within Active Directory."

Availability of Centrify CloudTools

Centrify CloudTools are available today and are free to both Centrify Express users and Centrify Suite customers. Centrify Express users and current Centrify Suite customers can access the Centrify CloudTools free of charge by visiting

Published Monday, May 09, 2011 6:00 AM by David Marshall
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