Centrify’s CloudTools Secures Linux Servers in the Cloud with Active Directory-based Access Control

Organizations can centrally manage and secure systems within Amazon EC2 environments.

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Centrify Corporation, whose security and compliance solutions centrally control, secure. and audit cross-platform systems and applications using Active Directory, has released Centrify CloudTools, integrated free tools and enhancements to existing products that let 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 (the company’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 enables 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.

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 system. 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 enhances the ability of 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.

Centrify CloudTools are available now 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 http://www.centrify.com/cloud.