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Pulse Secure readying Cloud Secure offering

Following its split from Juniper Networks, Pulse Secure looks to take on cloud access and authentication problems with a new product.

A year after being spun off from Juniper Networks Inc., Pulse Secure LLC is looking to expand its presence in the cloud security market with an offering called Cloud Secure, which could put the company in competition with cloud access security brokers (CASBs).

Created when the Junos Pulse business was acquired from Juniper by Siris Capital Group LLC last year, Pulse Secure includes some of Juniper's legacy products, such as its virtual private network (VPN) and network access control appliances. Earlier this year, the company introduced a new line of Pulse Secure Appliances that extended its VPN and network access control capabilities into the cloud.

Pulse Secure, which has traditionally been focused on mobile security, is now moving even deeper into the cloud security market. "Enterprise boundaries are amorphous, and they're becoming more amorphous every day," said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, CEO of Pulse Secure, based in San Jose, Calif. "We want to make sure that the cloud and mobile devices are enabled in everything we do."

To that end, Ramakrishna said his company is putting the finishing touches on a new product, tentatively called Cloud Secure, which gives enterprise users secure access to software as a service and cloud services. According to Pulse Secure, the product will use a token-exchange system based on the Security Assertion Markup Language to authenticate enterprise users accessing cloud services. Ramakrishna said the same cloud authentication system is used across all apps and services, regardless of the vendor or underlying technology.

"Security should be about providing access, not implementing controls," Ramakrishna said.

Security should be about providing access, not implementing controls.
Sudhakar RamakrishnaCEO of Pulse Secure

In that sense, Cloud Secure will be different from the cloud access security broker model. The product won't apply any security policies or encryption, and will be purely focused on delivering secure authentication. "Cloud Secure [is] not a CASB model. We believe the CASB model is an intermediate solution," Ramakrishna said. "Cloud Secure is all done on the back end. There's no actual gateway where there could be a choke point."

Ramakrishna acknowledged that Pulse Secure's new cloud security product will likely put the company in competition with CASBs and other companies, such as Palo Alto Networks, which recently introduced a CASB-like security as a service, called Aperture. But Ramakrishna said most Pulse Secure customers have mixed environments, with on-premises infrastructure and cloud services, and have been struggling with cloud authentication and access. "When it comes to cloud services, most breaches happen because of authorization and authentication issues -- not malware or viruses," he said. "It's a huge issue for enterprises looking to take advantage of the cloud."

Ramakrishna said the company plans to unveil Cloud Secure early next year around RSA Conference 2016.

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