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Google Enterprise Apps Get ID Management Boost From Centrify

A range of cloud-based identity management services from Centrify aims to make it easy for IT professionals to provision and authenticate corporate users of Google tools such as Android For Work and Google Compute Engine.
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To help companies use Google's services more efficiently, identity management firm Centrify has extended its identity-as-a-service offering to Android, Chrome, and Google Compute Engine.

Centrify Identity Service will now support Android for Work profiles, thus enabling corporate IT managers to control enterprise devices, identity profiles, and policies from a single console. IT managers will be able to provision corporate apps, single sign-on, and multi-factor authentication for apps governed by Android for Work profiles.

In addition, the company's Identity Service will allow workers to login to Chromebooks using their existing Microsoft Active Directory or LDAP identities, in conjunction with single sign-on and multi-factor authentication.

[Can Windows 10 help you work smarter? Read Top Windows 10 Apps To Boost Your Productivity.]

For Google Compute Engine, Centrify Privilege Service aims to simplify management of privileged account passwords associated with GCE's virtual servers. Centrify is adding support for organizational units in Google Apps, as well as deprovisioning -- an aspect of IT administration sometimes overlooked.

In a phone interview, Shreyas Sadalgi, senior VP of business development at Centrify, asserted that identity management and mobile device management should work as a unified service. "If you look at what users do on devices, they use apps," he said. "What defines a secure user in an app is a digital identity. You can do a good job of applying policies and managing, but how do you then tie that app to an identity, and how do you challenge that and get the device posture in line with what's required ... by policy? Customers want a single policy framework that defines all that."

That's what Centrify aspires to provide for Google enterprise customers: a single console for managing the access rights of people, apps, and devices.

Last year Google renamed its enterprise group "Google for Work," and it's been adding work-oriented features to Android, Chrome, Apps, and Cloud Platform. On Monday, to encourage more businesses to try Google Apps, the company said it would waive Google Apps fees for enterprises interested in testing its productivity suite while they are under an enterprise agreement with another service provider. Presumably, this is an attempt to entice IBM and Microsoft customers to consider Google Apps.

T.J. Keitt, an analyst with Forrester Research, in a phone interview said the way Google is perceived by enterprise customers varies. Among smaller enterprises (ones ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 employees), Google is often viewed as a viable alternative to Microsoft's cloud or on-premises offerings, he said. Larger, more complex organizations may still be hesitant about multi-tenant applications, he explained, adding that such enterprises appreciate the ability of Microsoft's partners to host Microsoft technology on behalf of customers.