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BeyondTrust Acquires Blackbird Group

BeyondTrust announced last week that it has acquired Microsoft ISV partner Blackbird Group for an undisclosed amount.

BeyondTrust, a silver Microsoft application development partner, is known for its tools to manage privilege and access rights using Microsoft's Active Directory. In addition to helping organizations monitor and control access to Windows Server-based applications that use Active Directory for authentication and authorization, BeyondTrust's PowerBroker tools are available with bridges to manage policies for Linux, Unix and cloud infrastructure.

PowerBroker is targeted at organizations, typically large ones, which must either meet certain compliance requirements or need to ensure they are managing risk. IT can implement access rights enforced by policies with PowerBroker, which monitors and reports on what users are accessing.

Earlier this year, BeyondTrust broadened its security portfolio with the acquisition eEye Digital Security, provider of the vulnerability management solution eEye Retina CS Vulnerability Management and Analytics. Combined with PowerBroker, BeyondTrust officials say the bundle can provide a context-aware security and compliance solution.

The eEye deal, inked back in May, also helped BeyondTrust extend its technical bench. Marc Maiffret, founder of eEye and known for having discovered some key vulnerabilities including the famous CodeRed worm and other exploits in Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista, is now BeyondTrust's CTO.

Blackbird Group gives BeyondTrust complimentary tools designed to further monitor and enforce policies via Active Directory. The Blackbird Management Suite provides real-time auditing of Active Directory, as well as SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server and the Windows file system.

"We give protection for Active Directory so you are not just detecting changes that happened that weren't supposed to but allowing you to prevent them going forward," said Christian Ehrenthal, Blackbird's founder and CEO, in an interview. "It's quite a nice package on the compliance side, and that's how this deal came together."

The BeyondTrust deal also reunites executives and developers who once worked together at NetPro Computing, acquired by Quest Software in 2008. BeyondTrust president and COO Kevin Hickey was NetPro's CEO prior to the Quest acquisition. Also coming from NetPro was Brad Hibbert, now BeyondTrust's EVP for product engineering.

As it worked out, numerous other former NetPro developers in Halifax, went to work for Blackbird following the Quest acquisition. "There are a lot of known quantities between the two companies," said Mike Puterbaugh, BeyondTrust's VP of marketing.

BeyondTrust for some time has targeted Quest customers and officials said the Blackbird deal will help it make further headway. "We have been very successful in migrating customers through our license exchange program from Quest," Ehrenthal said.

Quest, now a part of Dell, plans to step up efforts to in the area of access management next quarter with the release of Security Explorer 9, which will provide support for the new Dynamic Access Control features in Windows Server 2012.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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