Tech profile: digital identity and access managers ForgeRock
As technology’s inexorable march continues, it’s vital that security considerations keep pace. One of the principle tasks of such security is in gating the access to internal systems. One provider of the identity and access management tools that make such an effort possible is San Francisco’s ForgeRock.
Founded in 2010, the company says its specialty lies in the field of digital identities, a market which, according to Gartner, is worth $16bn and growing at a rate of 13% per year.
ForgeRock offers a “unified” identity platform on an XaaS model, deployable either locally or on the cloud. Features include the ability to be implemented for both consumers and the workforce, with capabilities across identity gateway, directory services, user-managed access and edge security.
It’s an approach that has led the company’s software to be taken up by global giants, including the likes of Comcast, BNP Paribas, Allianz and the BBC, to name a few of its over 1,100 customers.
The company has also attracted significant backing, with a total of $233.7mn raised across 5 funding rounds. Its latest Series E, announced on 21 April, saw $93.5mn raised from lead investor Riverwood Capital and others including Accel.
In a press release accompanying the news, the company’s CEO Fran Rosch said: “To be competitive today, companies need to deepen their relationships with their customers and improve the productivity and connectivity of their workforce. ForgeRock is the only AI-driven platform that empowers organizations to create amazing digital experiences for both workforce and consumer segments as well as things.
“Increasingly, our platform is becoming mission critical to the largest organizations in the world, and we take our responsibility seriously to deliver on their expectations. This has become even more pronounced as remote work and E-commerce has surged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Completing this funding round in the current climate is a testament to the relevance of ForgeRock.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”